What to expect in your caregiver role
A caregiver plays an important role in a transplant patient’s health care and recovery. In fact, most transplant centers require patients to have a caregiver to help care for them through the transplant process. As a caregiver, you will be called on to gather information, talk to doctors, stay by your loved one’s side and provide support.
If this is a new role for you, it can be overwhelming to be in a new world of medical terms, test results and treatment choices. But it helps to learn what you’ll need to do. Many transplant centers offer classes to teach caregivers about the role. Each transplant patient’s needs are different, so talking with your loved one ahead of time will give you a better understanding of his or her expectations as well.
Advocate for the patient
As a caregiver, you are an advocate for the patient. To be an advocate is to be an active supporter of the patient. While your specific responsibilities will change before, during and after transplant, your role throughout the process will involve three important areas of support and advocacy:
- Medical – As an active part of the health care team, you can gather information, talk to doctors and help care for the patient.
- Financial – You can talk to the insurance company and manage transplant costs and daily household finances.
- Emotional and social – You can be there to listen and support the patient. You can also keep family and friends informed and involved.
After your loved one undergoes a bone marrow or cord blood transplant, your responsibilities as a caregiver may change. Read how you can help with medical, financial and emotional changes after transplant.
Resources to help you care for yourself
To be an effective caregiver, you will need to take care of yourself and use your energy where it will help the patient the most. Be The Match® has a program available called the Caregiver’s Companion Program to help you manage the emotional and physical stress you may experience.
Be The Match patient services coordinators can answer your questions and provide support and education to help you and your loved one navigate your transplant journey.