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For Care Partners

As a care partner (also called caregiver), you are an important member of the transplant team. From changing bandages (in the early days), to helping manage medicines, to attending multiple doctor visits, your role is important to your loved one's treatment and recovery.

Learn All You Can

The impact of an organ transplant goes well beyond the bedside. It's a lifelong commitment with challenges along the way.

By knowing all you can about the transplant journey, you can be a strong partner for your loved one and a needed source of physical and emotional support. It's important that you fully understand directions from the transplant team. If there is anything you don't understand or if you have any questions, do not hesitate to call the transplant team.


Stay Organized

Making sure the transplant recipient takes his or her medication as prescribed, goes to all doctor appointments, and makes healthy choices is an important part of recovery and ongoing health. You can help your loved one stay on track by helping them get organized. Here are some tips for getting organized:

  • Create a medication schedule so your loved one knows what dose of what medicine to take and when. Keep the schedule in a place where it can be seen, and keep a copy with you so you can make sure your loved one doesn't miss a dose
  • Make a schedule of doctor appointments and make sure your loved one has transportation to and from appointments
  • Look into using a pillbox for those medications that can be stored in a pillbox, which may help ensure that every dose of medication is taken every day

Diet and Exercise After a Transplant

Eating right is very important to good health. Consider talking to a registered dietitian about your loved one's specific nutritional needs. There may be certain foods to avoid while taking immunosuppressive medications. Some transplant recipients may be prescribed medication that could cause increased appetite, resulting in unwanted weight gain. A registered dietitian can help set up a diet plan that is tailored to your loved one's unique needs and challenges.

Also consider talking to the transplant team about when it is safe for the transplant recipient to start exercising after surgery. The transplant team will likely explain what type of exercise is best and how much is safe.


Communicate

Talk to your loved one. Ask how they are feeling physically and emotionally. Also communicate with the transplant team. Tell them how your loved one is doing so the transplant team can make informed decisions and provide the best care.


Take Care of Yourself

Caring for someone with a chronic illness can be overwhelming. Don't lose sight of your own needs. Take care of yourself so you have the strength to care for your loved one. For example:

  • Get plenty of rest. Sleep is important to your health. It's a good idea to go bed and wake up at the same time each day to help set your internal clock.
  • Get help. People may offer to make dinners, walk the dog, mow the grass, etc. Let them help so you can get a break. Also, ask for help before you feel overwhelmed.
  • Get support. Support groups offer information and advice to care partners as well as transplant recipients. Talk to your transplant team about local organizations that might be helpful.