Stem cell treatment at Rigshospitalet has been approved by the highly prestigious JACIE Accreditation and the treatment is therefore among the best in the world.
"This certification is the culmination of a year-long process in close cooperation with the Department of Haematology, the Department of Paediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, the Blood Bank and the Department of Clinical Immunology, Tissue Typing Laboratory. We wanted the accreditation in order to document the quality of our work to our collaboration partners and to be equipped for the future, where accreditation may become a requirement in order to exchange donor stem cells with other countries," explained Henrik Sengeløv, Consultant from the Department of Haematology and head of the accreditation process.
Systematics that work
One thousand different standards must be met in order to become accredited, and it took two and half years to prepare the application itself. Several hundred members of staff were involved.
“It has been incredibly rewarding. We achieved good results before we started, but now our work has become even more systematic and structured. Among other things, this includes holding regular meetings between the involved departments and more formalised guidelines. This means no more ‘concealed knowledge’ and it also means that it has become easier for new employees and more experienced members of staff to know exactly how to carry out treatment. All nurses now participate in the education program and all physicians specialised in haematology are given an introduction.
We are also providing more systematic feedback. For example, everyone involved are given a quarterly follow-up on patient survival. In a ward, where one only sees the most critical patients, where death often occurs, it's nice to be reminded that the survival rate after a year is about 85 percent," explained Henrik Sengeløv.
Collaboration, with among others, the Service Centre has become more systematic with permanent collaboration agreements regarding e.g. alarm systems to ensure that the air in treatment rooms is sterile.
Focus on donors
Accreditation helps future-proof stem cell treatment for the benefit of future patients. However, the process has also shown that previously established practices were already in accordance with JACIE practices. This applies to, among others, how we work with stem cell donors.
"The physician who assesses the eligibility of a donor is not involved in the treatment of the patient, which might otherwise create an interest in taking samples of stem cells. The assessment is made by the physicians at the Blood Bank. Furthermore, the accreditation has meant that all children who donate bone marrow to a sibling have been allocated a healthcare assessor who is not involved in the treatment of the ill sibling," said Henrik Sengeløv.
Each year, about 25 stem cell transplants are carried out on children and about 90 on adults. Over the past few years, the number of transplants has been increasing among adults as the method is increasingly used among older patients.