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Families and Caregivers

Families provide support during the transplant process.
Transplant families provide support during the
transplant process. Back row: Michael (liver) and
Ruth Binsky, Jane and Col. Tom (heart) Edwards
Front row: Stanley (kidney) and Jacinta Marshall,
Larry and Brenda (lung) Thompson

When you discover that your loved-one needs a transplant, you probably have many questions. As a family member or caregiver, you will need to support your loved-one throughout the transplant process. And if you are the primary caregiver, you’ll need to understand the patient’s health and medications.

Understanding the Disease

As the caregiver, you’ll need to understand the disease. Research it with the patient, and help the patient stay healthy before surgery. Know the danger signs of the disease, and have contact information for the patient’s transplant team. Come with your patient to medical appointments and play an active role in the discussion. The more you know and understand the situation, the better care you can provide.

Know the Medications

It is essential that you know what medications your loved-one is taking. Help your patient stay on schedule for taking the medications and learn about the side effects of each medication.

Advocate for the Patient

You are a key advocate for the patient. You should find out the patient’s wishes in the event he or she becomes incapacitated. You may also help by scheduling appointments, locating medical records, watching out for the patient’s safety, and making sure the patient is receiving the care he or she needs.

Physical Care

After surgery, the patient will need help with their physical care. You may need to help him or her get to appointments, organize medicines, make meals, and perform household chores. You may also need to help transport the patient.

Larry Zito, liver recipient, and his daughter, Christine Sewell
Larry Zito, liver recipient, and his daughter,
Christine Sewell

Emotional Support

Perhaps the most important part of being a patient’s caregiver is to provide emotional support. Transplant surgery is an extremely stressful and emotional time. You can help ease the anxiety by listening and being supportive. Simply spending time with a transplant patient lets them know you care.

Contact us for more information on family support.