Being a Caregiver
A caregiver is a family member, most often a parent, relative or friend who can be with the patient for the majority of the BMT treatment and recovery. A caregiver plays a crucial role in helping a patient through BMT and recovery. To be able to provide strong support, you also will need to take care of yourself emotionally and physically.
Prepare yourself in advance for the caregiver role. You will be called on to provide emotional support, perform practical tasks, and simple medical procedures for the patient. We encourage you to accept help with these things in whatever way best supports your efforts.
Preparing for the Hospital Stay
As you and your family prepare for the BMT hospitalization and stay near the clinic after the transplant, we want to provide you with a list of suggested things to consider as you get ready. Please review the Pediatric Preparation Checklist: Getting Ready for Transplant (PDF) or the Adult Preparation Checklist (PDF): Getting Ready for Transplant. If you still have questions or concerns after reading through the checklist, please contact your BMT nurse coordinator or social worker.
Your Caregiving Role
As you plan for your own caregiving experience, take time to reflect on your current strengths and your goals for a caregiving role. It is important to note that few people are ever fully satisfied with all aspects. We've created a Caregiver Self-Assessment Worksheet (PDF) to help with your own private reflection and self-care goal planning.
Taking Care of Yourself
Being a caregiver can be physically and emotionally demanding. Caregivers need to devote time and attention to their own personal needs to be able to continue to provide care for the patient. You can sign up at the front desk, to have a Care Partners volunteer come and stay with your child for an hour so you can take a walk or have a cup of coffee.
Think about what activities relax you? Many activities are available within the hospital, the University campus or within a short walk of the hospital. We encourage you to take advantage of the resources below.
Activities for Parents and Other Adult Caregivers
Parent Coffee Hour
Come and take a break, meet other parents/caregivers in the hospital, relax and re-energize with friendly, experienced volunteers who serve gourmet coffee, juice, muffins and other goodies.
- Location: Family Resource Center, main lobby of University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital
- Hours: Wednesdays, 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.
University of Minnesota Recreation Facilities
As the caregiver of a BMT patient, you are eligible to use the University of Minnesota Recreation Center facilities on the East Bank at a reduced rate. Facilities include swimming pools, racquet courts, gyms, fitness centers with weight training and aerobic equipment, running track, locker rooms, steam rooms, sauna, and more. If you are interested in access to the Rec Center, ask your BMT social worker for a referral letter (letter is required for referral and discount).