Patients who receive MIBG stay in the MIBG treatment room until their radiation levels fall below a designated level. At The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, we have inpatient rooms with lead shielding in the walls and door. The lead stops radiation from traveling through the walls while your child is treated.
Inside the room, we take these additional precautions to reduce the possibility of radiation spreading beyond your child’s bed.
The MIBG room is covered in plastic—the floor, bed, equipment, toilet seat, video game controller and everything else. The plastic helps prevent the room from being contaminated, so it can be used to treat non-MIBG patients after your child goes home. It’s also helpful in the case of bedwetting, a catheter leak, or a spill of a catheter collection bag—the plastic makes clean up easy and safe.
The lead shields next to the bed protect you from radiation exposure while you care for your child. You should stand behind the smaller, white shield. Don’t try to move these shields. They are very heavy.
As the primary caregiver, you should spend most of your time in the “Clean Corner.” Here you’ll find the couch where you sit and sleep, positioned a safe distance from your child’s bed. Do everything you can to keep this area from being contaminated. Your family’s luggage and other belongings will be stored behind the couch.
The bathroom in the MIBG room is for the patient only. Older patients will be instructed to urinate every two hours (flushing twice each time) until they are discharged. Boys will have to sit to urinate to prevent splashing. Younger children will have a bladder catheter to collect their urine.
To prevent yourself from becoming contaminated with radiation, you must use the bathrooms elsewhere on the inpatient unit. There is a shower for family members in the Connelly Center on the 8th floor of the Main Building. There are a couple of circumstances in which it is OK to enter the patient bathroom and Radiation Safety will review these with you.
There are three trash boxes in the MIBG room and each has a special purpose.
Visitors are not allowed to enter the treatment room, for their own safety. They may talk to the patient from the doorway, but should never step inside. No one who is pregnant or under 18 years of age is ever allowed in the room.