For Caregivers

Caring For the Patient

Once the MIBG infusion begins, the primary caregiver at home becomes the primary caregiver in the hospital. You will provide much of the day-to-day care as described below, but the nursing staff and the rest of the medical team are there to help if you need them.

  • The nurse will enter to take vital signs and to empty the urine collection bag throughout the day.
  • The nurse will also administer all IV meds.
  • The attending physician, fellow, and/or nurse practitioner will examine the patient every day.

Safety training

Before you take on any of these responsibilities, you’ll complete Environmental Health and Radiation Safety Training. Only trained caregivers may provide care during treatment. To limit exposure, only one caregiver can stay in the room at a time. We recommend that two caregivers be available during the hospital stay and that they take turns being in the MIBG treatment room with the patient.

Caregiver responsibilities

When the patient is admitted to the MIBG treatment room, your nurse will review the Parent Contract with you. The nurse will go over all of the caregiver responsibilities, which will include changing linens, feeding, assisting with bedpan use and giving oral medications. When oral medication is due, the nurse will enter the room, check the patient’s ID band, and hand the medication to you to give to the patient.

Giving medications is an important part of your job as caregiver, and you may need to wake up in the middle of the night to give the patient required medication. In addition to any medication the patient already takes, you will give:

  • Potassium iodide or SSKI to protect the patient’s thyroid
  • Medications for nausea if needed
  • Medications to prevent bladder spasm

Emptying catheter collection bag

A catheter will be used to drain urine from the bladder to reduce the radiation exposure to the bladder. The collection bag is stored in the yellow lead box next to the bed, and a nurse will empty this once each shift.