As well as preparing yourself physically and mentally for your transplant, you will probably need to put some practical plans in place too. Hopefully these suggestions will help relieve some of your worries and concerns, so you can focus on the more important things.
Ask for help
Many people worry about who will look after everyone else while they are in hospital. Ask friends and family for support with your children, pets or home – people are often more than happy to help.
Sometimes people want to help you but are unsure how to, so ask for specific things – like driving you to an appointment, picking up your children from school or sorting things around the house.
Plan a visit
Find out if it’s possible to visit one of the isolation units you will stay in beforehand. It will help you visualise what your stay will be like and remove the unexpected as much as possible. This will hopefully mean there are no unnecessary surprises. Every hospital and transplant centre has slightly different rules and procedures, so this is a good opportunity to find out some specific details.
Many parents also find that being prepared for their child’s approaching hospital stay helps them to cope with the situation. It might be a good idea to take your child along too, if you think it could settle their nerves. Take time to ask the questions that are important to you. Find out how often you will be able to visit and the arrangements for staying overnight with your child.
Any situation can be daunting if you don’t feel like you know what’s going on. Smaller concerns around things like Wi-Fi, visitor parking or hospital food can build up quickly, so take control of the situation by finding things out.
Our information on protective isolation may be able to help, but your transplant team will also be happy to answer any questions you might have.
Let your work or school know
It’s very likely that you will need to take an extended period of time off work to recover from your stem cell transplant. Most people need at least 6 months before they are ready to return. If your employer isn’t already aware of your situation, you should let them know. This will give them time to organise the necessary support you will need when you are ready to return. For more information, see our return to work guides for patients (PDF 698KB) and employers (PDF 547KB).
If you are preparing for your child’s transplant, you should talk to their class or head teacher about the situation. They need to be made aware of the time off your child is likely to have, and the support the school will need to provide, both before and after they return.
Information published: 09/05/2018
Next review due: 09/05/2021