The experience and preparation of pediatric sibling bone marrow donors

Soc Work Health Care. 1998;27(1):89-99. doi: 10.1300/J010v27n01_06.


To assist sibling bone marrow donors with the psychological and emotional distress that they may experience as donors, a sibling bone marrow donor program was developed at The Hospital for Sick Children. These donors feel overwhelming responsibility for their siblings' survival, which can lead to psychological distress. The donors are engaged in age-appropriate medical play and are encouraged to discuss their feelings and concerns about their role. After the marrow harvest, donors receive a certificate, and either they or their parents evaluate the program. Thus far, 97.5% have rated the program very helpful. These evaluations suggest that the program has a very positive effect on the sibling donor's psychosocial health. Further studies of the program's long-term success are warranted.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Anxiety
  • Bone Marrow Transplantation* / adverse effects
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Guilt
  • Humans
  • Nuclear Family / psychology*
  • Ontario
  • Psychology, Child
  • Social Work Department, Hospital
  • Social Work, Psychiatric / methods*
  • Tissue Donors / psychology*