Facing new and demanding responsibilities, a caregiver for a blood and marrow transplant (BMT) patient may experience their own mental, physical and emotional challenges. Because of the significant role they play in a patient’s transplant journey, it’s essential that the caregiver’s unique and ongoing needs are addressed to increase the likelihood of a successful transplant outcome.
The National Marrow Donor Program® (NMDP)/Be The Match® provides free one-on-one and group support services to help BMT caregivers cope with the challenges that come with caring for a loved one before, during and after transplant.
Patient Support Center
A good starting point, the NMDP/Be The Match Patient Support Center provides information, support and resources for patients, caregivers and families. Your patient’s caregiver can connect with a BMT patient navigator to get their questions—about practical issues, insurance, financial resources—answered. Working with a network of professionals, BMT patient navigators can also make referrals to additional health professionals as needed or requested.
Peer Connect Program
The Peer Connect Program links caregivers with trained volunteers who have been through the transplant caregiver journey and can share their experiences. Trained by social workers, all volunteers have completed background checks and are at least 1 year out from the patient’s transplant. Special effort is made to find a volunteer who most closely matches the caregiver’s situation and who can address specific questions or concerns.
Jerry, a caregiver for a BMT recipient who used this program stated, “When we first received the diagnosis, we had so many questions about what to expect beyond the treatment plan. The Peer Connect Program put us in touch with a patient and caregiver, close to our ages, who could share lessons they learned as well as tips that would make our journey easier—and less scary.”
For caregivers who could benefit from mental health or emotional support services, NMDP/Be The Match provides free counseling services by licensed social workers with a background in BMT. Allowing for flexibility in scheduling, counseling services are provided over the phone and do not require an office visit. For caregivers caring for patients in the post-transplant phase, support groups are also available.
View additional resources offered by several organizations to enhance a caregiver’s experience.