The 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.
Typical caregivers 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
- Preparing food
- Gathering information
- Serving as a communication link with other family members and friends
Preparing to be a Caregiver
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.
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 Patient & Caregiver Resource Manual that you will 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 for grocery shopping and errands. Volunteers will also join you and your family for social activities, such as movies, sightseeing, or restaurant meals, or will take children and teens on outings to give you a break. Contact the director of Volunteer Services at (206) 288-1071 for more information.