Sunday, April 19, 2009

Role of the Transplant Caregiver

Role of the Transplant Caregiver
If someone you love is undergoing a bone marrow or cord blood transplant (also called a BMT), you may feel you have been thrown into a new and sometimes frightening world of medical terms, test results and treatment choices. You will be called on to gather information, talk to doctors, stay by your loved one's side for hours and support him or her in many other ways. In other words, you are serving as a transplant caregiver.

Each transplant patient's needs are different. Each transplant caregiver will find his or her own way to meet those needs. What is the same for everyone is that a caregiver plays a vital role in the patient's treatment and recovery. Because a caregiver is so important, most transplant centers require a patient to have a caregiver to help them through the transplant process.
Most often, one person acts as the transplant patient's main caregiver. Sometimes, no one is able to play this role full time. Instead, a group of people can work together as caregivers. When a group shares the caregiving role, organization and communication are keys to success.

For a free, easy online tool to organize a community of family and friends who want to help, see Lotsa Helping Hands: http://www.marrow.lotsahelpinghands.com. With this private group Web calendar, people can see what help is needed and when, so everyone can pitch in to help make the transplant patient's life run more smoothly.
For one model of a way to organize a caregiving team, see www.sharethecare.org.

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