1. Be patient. The transplant process is like a rollercoaster and sometimes it might feel like you will never get off. Try to take one day at a time and do the best you can.
2. Talk about it – with anyone. Get support from other caregivers in a casual setting or a support group!! You can also talk to a social worker or another professional privately.
3. Use your faith and pray.
4. Educate yourself. Always ask the doctors, nurses, and social workers questions if you don’t understand. Read about transplant on websites like www.UNOS.org or www.TransplantLiving.org.
5. Keep a journal (personal or medical). The medical terminology, treatment plans and medication lists can seem very overwhelming. Journaling helps keep you and the patient on track, ask questions and write down the answers. You may feel less stressed and more confident in what is expected.
6. Find all the resources you can! Talk to a social worker about available resources for travel, lodging, finances, emotional or physical health, etc.
7. Self-care! If you don’t take time for you, you’re not any good for the patient.
8. Let people help you and ask for help. Many friends and family want to help but don’t know how – let them know what you need and be specific.
9. Try to stay Calm. Try relaxation exercises like deep breathing or yoga.
10. Keep Laughing. Find a way to keep laughing and make room for lightheartedness.
If you have questions about any of these tips or need additional support please email CaregiverLifeline@GiftofLifeFamilyHouse.org and ask to speak with a social worker.