The experience of spouses as informal caregivers for recipients of hematopoietic stem cell transplants

Margaret E. Wilson, June Eilers, Judith A. Heermann, Rita Million

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

23 Scopus citations


Spouses often are the primary caregiver for the hematopoietic stem cell transplant (HSCT) recipients and participate in the transplant recipients' care throughout the HSCT trajectory. The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore and describe the experiences of spouses of HSCT recipients during the acute phase of the transplant trajectory. The participants were spousal caregivers (8 wives and 3 husbands) of transplant recipients. Each participant was interviewed 1 to 6 times. Data were analyzed using Spradley's domain analysis. As couples entered the transplant experience, spouses described a sense of dislocation from normal life. They were now riding a rollercoaster in the dark as they lived the uncertainty of this risky therapy. Spouses structured the uncertainty with rituals, formed a positive perspective, and envisioned the future. They described a caregiving role but also needed to balance "me and my world" with "us and our world."

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E15-E23
JournalCancer Nursing
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - May 1 2009



  • Hematopoietic stem cell transplant
  • Informal caregivers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Oncology(nursing)

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