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Bone Marrow/Stem Cell Transplant Frequently Asked Questions
Helpful information for patients, caregivers and families
(Bilingual Spanish/English)

16. How do I choose a caregiver?

When you are referred for a bone marrow or cord blood transplant, your transplant center coordinator will ask you to identify a responsible family member or friend who can provide physical care and emotional support during and after your transplant. The most important consideration in selecting a caregiver is to make sure that your primary caregiver is someone you feel comfortable with and is someone who cares deeply for you. In many cases, the choice of a primary caregiver is obvious: a spouse or partner, a parent, or an adult child. In others, the choice is less clear. Some people have several family members or friends who may be able to work together as a caregiving team. In some situations, you may have to think "outside the box." For example, a religious or service group may take turns caring for a transplant patient in their community.

You may want to consider the following before asking someone to be your caregiver:

  • Your caregiver may have to be away from his or her work for weeks or even months. Is your caregiver able to take a leave (Family Medical Leave Act — FMLA) or an extended absence from work? Does he or she have a good means of support that will allow for unpaid time off?
  • Your caregiver will often be your escort. Will he or she have the time and the transportation to take you to your medical appointments?
  • You may have to be at the hospital for long periods of time. Is this person comfortable in the hospital setting?

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