Blood and marrow transplant and self-care

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Learn the importance of self-care after your child survives a blood and marrow transplant.

Key points

  • As your child gets older, encourage them to become more literate about their medical history and make healthy lifestyle choices.
  • Encourage responsibility in self-care by involving your child in their health-care management from an early age.

As your child gets older, they become more independent. As they mature, they need to be aware of their own medical history and the risk of late effects that may be caused by their blood and marrow transplant (BMT). This will be important, as your child continues follow-up care for the rest of their life. Becoming literate about their medical history is essential for their long-term health, as is learning the important steps needed to manage health care. Your child can use ‘My Health Passport,’ a customized, wallet-size card that describes all of their medical information. For more information, visit the Good 2 Go website.

How can you encourage responsibility for self-care?

Teens may find it difficult making decisions about their self-care. This may be particularly true for teens that have conflicting feelings about their medical history. The end result may involve not taking certain prescription drugs during follow-up when or how they should, or not observing any physical activity restrictions connected with their condition.

Encourage your teen to make healthy lifestyle choices, such as:

Talk to your child’s doctor or hospital dietitian for more suggestions.

Involve your child early in decision-making. Help them learn and practice problem-solving. Be sure to encourage your child to express any worries or concerns they may have about their health and together find ways to solve problems.

As your child matures, it is important for them to be an active participant in their health. Encourage them to meet with the doctor on their own. As an adult, your child will see many different specialists (for example, cardiologists or endocrinologists). Your child needs to make sure these doctors are all aware of the medical history.

It may be a good idea to involve a health professional with expertise in understanding teen issues, such as a social worker, psychologist, or specialist in adolescent medicine. Some of these individuals may be affiliated with the hospital's oncology department. This is especially important if your child seems to be having trouble coping at school or you have seen a change in their behaviour, sleep habits, or appetite.

Last updated: March 12th 2010