Blood or Marrow Transplant Caregiver Role

People who undergo a transplant need a personal caregiver to help with their treatment and recovery. Your caregiver should be a responsible family member or friend who can provide physical care, observation and emotional support for you throughout the transplant process. As part of planning ahead for your transplant, it is important to decide who can be your caregiver. Your care team at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center is always here to help support your caregiver at any time. 

Preparing to Be a Caregiver for a Blood or Marrow Transplant Patient

Our staff will help your caregiver prepare with classes that cover topics such as food safety, care at home, and long-term recovery. Individualized instruction is provided about your medications, central venous catheter, and other topics. We also provide extensive, detailed written materials and helpful information about support groups for caregivers, organized by our social work service. .

Transition Services offers individual education and helps caregivers with planning for the care of transplant recipients at home after a transplant.

Caregiver Responsibilities

Caregivers typically help in these ways:

  • Making arrangements, such as transportation to and from the clinic
  • Accompanying you to your appointments
  • Providing emotional support
  • Providing physical care
    • Helping you take oral medications
    • Taking care of your central venous catheter
    • Recording medications you take
    • Giving intravenous fluids and medications using an electronic pump
    • Identifying changes in your condition 
    • Obtaining medical care if needed
    • Reporting symptoms to health care staff
  • Maintaining the home environment
    • Cleaning
    • Preparing food
  • Gathering information
  • Serving as a communication link with other family members and friends

Support for Caregivers

Caregivers of transplant recipients need to take care of themselves as well. We provide support for caregivers through support groups and individual appointments with social workers and pastors.

The Caregiver Guide you receive when you arrive in Seattle for transplant includes resources and suggestions that will help caregivers take care of themselves and other family members during this stressful and challenging time.

Volunteer Services for Patients and Families

In addition, patients and caregivers can ask for the support of a patient family volunteer. Volunteers can offer companionship and practical assistance for families and caregivers of patients who are from outside Western Washington and have no local support.

A volunteer can meet you and your family at the airport when you arrive and provide transportation. Volunteers can assist families with getting to know Seattle by providing tours of the city and transportation for household shopping. Offer transportation for grocery shopping on a weekly basis or errands as needed/when available. Offer companionship and diversion by visiting and telephoning families at least twice a week. Contact the director of Volunteer Services at 206.606.1071 for more information.