The caregiver is an essential member of the stem cell transplantation care team. You know the patient better than any medical provider — and you will make a vital difference before, during, and after transplant, both for your loved one and for his or her medical team.
There will be frequent appointments at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Brigham and Women's Hospital, and/or at the patient's local oncologist, both before and after transplant. You will also likely visit the patient frequently while he or she is an inpatient during transplant.
As you go through the transplant caregiving process, be sure to remember that it is important for you to reach out to others for support when you need it. Even though you are the caregiver, no one person can manage this on his or her own. There are many resources at and beyond Dana-Farber Brigham Cancer Center to assist you with the challenges of cancer and caregiving.
As part of our comprehensive education guide, we provide A Guide for Caregivers, which details what it means to be a caregiver for a transplant patient. This guide provides information about how to find support for medical and practical issues, how to guard against infection, and how to form a caregiving team to help with specific tasks. This guide is available from the patient's Dana-Farber oncology nurse navigator.
Caregiver Support Group
This is a support group designed specifically for caregivers of cancer patients. Though not transplant-specific, it is an opportunity to share experiences, information, and resources with other caregivers. There are many disease-specific support groups for patients and caregivers within and beyond Dana-Farber. Please ask your social worker for more information, or register by calling 617-632-3301.
Clinical Social Work
Clinical social workers are an important part of the care team and can provide psychological support and counseling during each phase of transplant. They are available to help you cope with and manage a range of concerns or issues that may arise during your illness and treatment; our social workers understand your need for other supportive resources at Dana-Farber, at Brigham and Women's Hospital, and in the community.
One-to-One is a telephone support program that connects patients and their loved ones with a trained volunteer who has previously been through the stem cell transplant experience — someone who is personally familiar with the complex issues of cancer treatment, transplant, and survivorship.