For Caregivers

Going Home After MIBG

A typical length of stay following MIBG treatment is 2 to 5 days, but every treatment is different. Environmental Health and Radiation Safety staff will check the patient’s radiation level every day. The patient will be discharged when the radioactivity falls to a level that indicates that it is safe for them to be outside of the hospital.

An MIBG scan will be performed prior to discharge to make sure tumor cells took up the I-131 MIBG. It is common for this scan to be very bright and often shows that the MIBG is present in areas that were not previously identified because of the high dose of 131-I MIBG used in treatments compared to typical scans. The post-treatment scan should not be directly compared to a regular diagnostic MIBG scan.

When the patient is ready to leave at the end of treatment, give them a sponge bath (do not use the bathtub) and have the patient put on clean clothes. The hospital gown they were wearing during treatment should be thrown in the trash box in the room.

At the time of discharge, you will be provided with documentation that the patient has received radioactive material as therapy in case you are questioned by anyone for triggering a radiation detector or if you need to be seen by a health care professional after you leave the hospital.

Taking personal items home

When the patient is ready to go home, Environmental Health and Radiation Safety staff will monitor your personal items that have been in the treatment room for traces of radiation as you bring them out of the room.

Precautions at home

For five days starting from the day of infusion, the patient should:

  • Limit the time spent in close contact with others (no closer than 3 feet for more than 1 hour per day).
  • Bathe daily and wash hands frequently, especially after urinating.
  • Flush the toilet twice after each use (males should sit to urinate to avoid splashing).
  • Not touch or prepare any food which might be eaten by someone else.
  • Use separate eating utensils, cups and plates.
  • Not share personal items such as combs and toothbrushes.
  • Use separate towels and washcloths. Launder all the patient’s bath towels, bed linens, and clothing separately.
  • Sleep alone.
  • Drink plenty of liquids.

For 7 days starting the day of infusion, the patient should:

  • Avoid kissing or intimate contact with another person.
  • Minimize close contact with pregnant women and young children.

If the patient is female and of child-bearing age, you should discuss additional precautions with the medical team and Environmental Health and Radiation Safety.