Parents as Primary Caregivers
For most of the young transplant patients at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance (SCCA), one or both parents will be primary caregivers for their child. While the responsibility of caring for a child who is undergoing a bone marrow or stem cell transplant may seem daunting at first, remember that we are here to help.
Having a parent as a caregiver means that your child will be able to spend less time in the hospital and more time either at home or as an outpatient living in temporary housing near the SCCA clinic and Seattle Children’s.
Our staff will help you prepare for your role as your child’s caregiver with weekly classes that cover topics such as food safety, care at home, and long-term recovery; individualized instruction about your child’s medications and other topics; and extensive, detailed written materials. Your role as caregiver is tailored to your comfort level, skills, and background. You may also want to join a support group for parents of children undergoing transplants. There are support groups that meet at SCCA and at Seattle Children’s.
Transition Services offers individual education and helps with planning for the care of your child at home after a transplant.
Support for Caregivers
Parents who are taking care of a child during a bone marrow or stem cell transplant need to take care of themselves as well. We provide support for caregivers through support groups and individual appointments with social workers, pastors, and Child Life specialists.
The “Patient & Caregiver Resource Manual” that you will receive when you arrive in Seattle includes resources and suggestions that will help you take care of yourself and other family members during this stressful and challenging time.
In addition, if you are coming to Seattle from outside of Western Washington, you can ask for the support of a patient/family volunteer. A volunteer can meet you and your child 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.