The lived experiences of patients in protective isolation during their hospital stay for allogeneic haematopoietic stem cell transplantation
Patients undergoing allogeneic haematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) usually receive hospital care in protective isolation until full neutrophil recovery. Although the aim of protective isolation is to benefit patients' health by preventing risks of infection, it could have severe psychological implications. The aim of this study was to explore the lived experiences of protective isolation in adult patients who had been treated with allogeneic HSCT.A descriptive phenomenological inquiry based on Giorgi's approach was conducted in a university hospital in Italy. Ten patients (7 female and 3 male, age range 28-66), who had undergone allogeneic HSCT to treat a haematological malignancy, were interviewed about their hospital stay in protective isolation.A general meaning structure was identified as being isolated to achieve transformation. The revelatory themes were as follows: (1) the special place for transformation, (2) the experience of embodied transformation, and (3) light and shade from inside and outside. Participants experienced a transformation of themselves, of their relationships with loved ones, and of the environment.Since patients may live the experience of being treated with allogeneic HSCT in protective isolation as a transformation process, health-care providers should monitor the psychosocial implications of the isolation practice.