Blood cancer patients in the North West will get better support after a bone marrow transplant, thanks to a pioneering Anthony Nolan nurse
Trina Quillinan is our third post-transplant specialist nurse, who is based at Manchester Royal Infirmary and The Christie.
Trina, 29, from Oldham, has been employed in a post funded by us to support patients with leukaemia and other blood cancers and blood disorders who have had bone marrow or stem cell transplants.
A bone marrow transplant is just the beginning of a blood cancer or blood disorder patient’s journey to recovery; many patients experience severe physical and emotional complications in the months that follow.
This development comes as we have recently launched its ‘Destination Cure’ campaign to improve post-transplant care and survival rates after a transplant. The Destination Cure report revealed that over the next five years there will be an estimated 16,076 people living with the long-term effects of a stem cell transplant.
Trina explained: “Patients don’t just have medical needs after a transplant, such as Graft vs Host Disease – they might also need help with getting back to work or school, housing or financial issues, emotional concerns about the illness returning as well as ongoing issues like fatigue, loss of appetite, and even fertility.”
Trina with Chiara De Biase, our Head of Patient Experience
Taking on the first role of its kind in the North West, Trina will be their dedicated point of contact at the hospitals once they have been allowed to go home following their transplant and will be able to offer specialist support and advice.
She will also be able to refer them to other services, such as dieticians, and to help them overcome any physical and psychological difficulties they experience after their transplant.
Trina, who has worked in haematology for nine years, including working on transplant wards, said: “It’s amazing really, the support we can offer patients.
“I really enjoy working with stem cell transplant patients and following them through their journey and I strongly believe in helping people post-transplant to adjust to their ‘new normal’.”
She added: “It is very reassuring for patients having us here for the whole journey, it gives them some continuity and they know that if they are worried about anything they can just pick up the phone. That’s vital and helps us to give people the best quality of life possible.”
Trina also explained that the new role enables her to ensure patients receive services closer to home, in the community, and that this saves them the time and expense involved in having to travel to the hospital to access care and services.
She says she also intends to hold a health and wellbeing event for patients during which they would receive advice about getting back to work, diet and exercise tips and have the opportunity to meet other patients.
Trina said: “It is really rewarding when you see someone through a transplant and their quality of life starts to improve. That helps not only the patient, but also their family.
“This job allows me to see the really positive side of transplants and that is really exciting.”
We've now introduced three specialist nurse positions as part of its focus on improving quality of life for people after a transplant.
The first nurse, Hayley Leonard, has taken up a position at The Royal Marsden in London. Susan Paskar took up a role in Newcastle in December and Trina has recently started the job in Manchester.
Anthony Nolan has been saving lives for four decades, by matching selfless people willing to donate their bone marrow or stem cells to blood cancer and blood disorder patients in desperate need of a life-saving transplant. This is usually their last chance of survival.
However, we're also committed to trying to improve the lives of patients who have had a transplant.
“It’s not enough just to provide a life-saving match for people who need a transplant and say our job’s done – we also want to help them live their lives to the full afterwards,” said Chiara De Biase, Head of Patient Experience at Anthony Nolan. “Our new nurses will provide integrated care and support to bone marrow transplant recipients, helping them to enjoy a good quality of life after transplant.”
Dr Fiona Dignan, Clinical Lead for Haematology at Manchester Royal Infirmary said:
“We’re delighted to welcome Trina to our busy team here in Manchester, and to be working with Anthony Nolan on this new initiative.
“Trina’s post and the services she provides will complement the existing care pathway for our patients, to ensure that they receive a fully holistic package of care when they undergo a transplant here.”
Manchester Royal Infirmary’s transplant programme has grown significantly over the last few years and now three times as many patients are able to receive this life saving treatment at their centre. The dynamic team is committed to providing an excellent patient experience. This new post will definitely help patients and their families cope with the challenges of recovering from a stem cell transplant.
Dr Adrian Bloor, Consultant Haematologist and Director of the Stem Cell Transplant Programme at The Christie said: “We are delighted that Trina Quillinan will be working with our patients in the future as a post-transplant specialist nurse to help them recover from bone marrow transplants and get their lives back on track after an often gruelling process. We are very pleased to be working with Anthony Nolan on this important initiative.
“The Christie is a leading centre for treating patients with blood cancers. We have a major bone marrow and stem cell transplant unit and a cutting edge research program. This appointment will allow us to further improve the care given to our patients.”
Help Anthony Nolan to convince the government to improve outcomes for people after a bone marrow transplant.
Join the Destination Cure campaign at www.anthonynolan.org/destinationcure