Being a caregiver can be overwhelming. It is important to remember that you are not alone and that there are resources available. Below are tips for caregivers of transplant patients to help prepare you to provide the best support for your loved one and yourself.
Educate yourself on your loved one’s illness
It is best to talk to your loved one’s health care provider about their condition to relieve any anxiety and set expectations.
Take the time to address questions you may have such as:
- What will this health journey look like, short-term and long-term?
- What can I do to support my loved one?
- Where can I get more information and resources?
Plan for the future
Planning can help reduce some of the stress associated with uncertainty. Ways to plan for the future include:
- Organize important information such as doctors’ names, medical insurance information, prescriptions, insurance policies, bills and upcoming doctors’ visits so they are easily accessible when needed.
- Understand the costs associated with transplant care including what insurance will pay and how you plan to pay for transplant care.
- If working, learn about your options for an extended leave from work for you and your loved ones (Family Medical Leave Act).
Don’t be afraid to ask for help
Being a caregiver can be an overwhelming process. Family and friends may want to help but may not know the best way. Do not be afraid to ask them for help and provide clear direction on how they can help.
Also, research and leverage community resources. Your social work team may be a great starting point to identify options such as transportation, respite, home care and personal care.
Support your loved one
Illness can cause a range of emotions for our loved ones from anguish to denial to grieving their life pre-illness. In addition to emotional support, there are things that a caregiver can do to help a transplant patient including:
- Coordinate and attend your loved ones’ doctor’s visits to listen, ask questions and schedule future visits
- Encourage your loved one to maintain good nutrition and actively participate in recommended rehabilitation
- Keep track of treatments and medications in a notebook
Take care of yourself
Do not forget that you are doing your best. Make sure you do not neglect yourself. Practice self-care including:
- Participate in stress-relieving activities such as yoga and meditation
- Continue with your hobbies
- Maintain a healthy diet, exercise and sleep
- Take time off without feeling guilty
Transplant Care Close to Home
Mercy Health offers a variety of services for patients and their loved ones to support them during their health care journey. One such way is by providing advanced services, closer to home.
For transplant care, Mercy Health and The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center have worked together to increase access to transplant care in local communities. Most recently, a clinic for the Ohio State Wexner Medical Center Comprehensive Transplant Center opened on the campus of The Jewish Hospital – Mercy Health in Cincinnati, OH.
This new clinic is the second transplant clinic to open as a result of the two hospital systems’ Healthy State Alliance, a strategic initiative formed with a vision to improve the health of the communities by tackling Ohio’s most critical health issues. In July, Ohio State Wexner Medical Center opened a clinic at Mercy Health – St. Rita’s Medical Center to provide transplant care in the Lima, OH area.
Learn more about The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center’s new organ transplant clinics at Mercy Health facilities.