When your child enters the hospital for a bone marrow or cord blood transplant (also called a BMT), he or she will have his or her own support team. As your child's parent, you are an important member of that team.
Your role on the team
Your child will be most comfortable when you care for him or her much as you would at home. You are also your child's advocate with other health care team members. You know your child best and can tell them about any new symptoms or pain. You can encourage your child to ask questions and speak for himself or herself as much as possible. It is important to communicate clearly and openly with the health care team so they can understand and respond to your child's needs.
Health care team members have resources to help with all aspects of the transplant, including emotional and financial concerns. Get to know the people on the team and the role each one plays. Explain to your child who these people are, what they do and how they will help throughout the transplant process. In addition to doctors and nurses, the following people may also help you and your child:
- Transplant coordinator — Coordinates all the steps of the transplant process, explains the procedures and answers any questions about the treatment.
- Dietitian/nutritionist — Creates balanced menus based on foods your child prefers.
- Child life specialist, child psychologist and social worker — Helps your child and family adjust to hospital life.
- Physical therapist — Helps with exercises to keep muscles strong.
K. Scott Baker, M.D., Director, Pediatric Blood and Marrow Transplantation and Survivorship Programs, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, Wash.Nancy J. Bunin, M.D., Director, Blood and Marrow Transplantation, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pa.Eva C. Guinan, M.D., Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School, Dana-Farber/Children’s Hospital, Boston, Mass.
Mary Jo Kupst, Ph.D., Professor of Pediatrics, Medical College of Wisconsin; Director, Program in Pediatric Psychology, Milwaukee, Wis.