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Louise Eaton, RN, BSN, OCN, inpatient Stem Cell Transplant Unit, John Theurer Cancer Center, provides advice for the relationship between caregivers and patients undergoing stem cell transplantation, as well as responsibilities for caregivers.
Regardless if a caregiver lives with a patient undergoing stem cell transplantation or not, they should adhere to an institution's policies when a patient is admitted for treatment. Such regulations for caregivers include wearing surgical masks and gloves, not sharing the same restrooms as the patient, etc. This is because medical staff treat patients as they are already immune-suppressed and have dropping blood counts immediately after coming in for treatment, Eaton explains.
These regulations go into effect on the first day of treatment, Eaton says, as it is unknown what outside sources could be harmful to patients.
At home, Eaton advises patients and caregivers to get used to a normal, but new, routine, as patients will be more at risk versus those not undergoing stem cell transplantation. Educating patients, as well as caregivers, in the initial stages of treatment is necessary to for an easier transition.