Educational Programs and Resources for Transplant Patients
Considering a transplant brings up many questions and can be a scary time in a patient’s life. Discovering the risks and benefits of a transplant, there are many different factors to consider when deciding with your doctor that a kidney transplant is the best course of action for your health and well-being. By becoming informed and seeking out educational resources, those considering transplants and their families can make the best decision based upon their unique circumstances and qualifications. There are many resources available to those considering kidney transplant that include education, emotional and psychological support, follow-up care and resources regarding financing and insurance. The process begins with an evaluation, followed up by preparing for the transplant, understanding the waitlist and finally care after the transplant.
According to Kidney.org, “For the majority of patients, transplantation is the best option. Kidney transplant is not a cure for kidney disease, but it can help you live longer and with a better quality of life.” Midwest Nephrology has three providers that specialize in transplant with training and expertise in the field of kidney and pancreas transplantation. Transplantation can be a life changing event for patients living with kidney disease, and many people feel that a successful kidney transplant offers a better quality of life than dialysis.
Evaluation for Kidney transplant –Because it is necessary to be extremely thorough, the evaluation can take several months. Contacting the insurance company, reviewing physical, psychosocial and financial health are all pieces that need to be put together during the initial evaluation. Doctors will review medical and surgical history, a physical exam, a psychosocial exam and compatibility tests. After the evaluation is complete, the transplant team will review the results, discuss concerns and decide if the transplant is the best course of action.
Getting Ready for a Transplant – Transplantation allows for a life free from dialysis and fewer dietary restrictions. It can provide a better quality of life and over time, is less expensive than dialysis. Learning about the risks and benefits of surgery allows patients to be the most important member of the health care team, which is why education and preparation are so important. When it comes to finding a donor, www.livingdonors.org finds that “when people who need a transplant first talk about it to their family, then friends, then acquaintances, and keep widening their circle of contacts, often someone will be found as a potential donor.” If the best option is to wait for a transplant from a deceased donor, http://www.transplantliving.org is a site designed for patients; providing information on ways to access a list of all transplant centers in the United States.
Transplant waitlist - The United Network for Organ Sharing is the organization that “holds the U.S. government contract to manage the list of potential organ recipients. The way the list operates is constantly under revision to make sure it is as fair as possible.” It is important to inform the transplant center of any major health changes that may occur during the waiting period on the transplant list, as well as keeping your contact information up to date. Yearly physical exams may be required if a patient is on the list for a long period of time, and a pager may also be given out as a way to immediately make contact when a kidney becomes available. Generally, the average time frame for waiting can be 3-5 years at most centers. A higher priority is given to patients who are extremely hard to match due to high levels of antibodies from prior transplants, blood transfusions or pregnancies.
With new medical advancements and treatments being studied and implemented, staying abreast on current procedures and requirements helps patients, along with their doctors, decide which course of action is best for their health; before, during, and after transplantation.
CONTACT MIDWEST NEPHROLOGY ASSOCIATES TODAY
Have any questions or concerns? Our dedicated team of physicians and certified staff are here to help answer all your questions and can help set up an appointment for you or a loved one. Contact Midwest Nephrology Associates for more information on Kidney Cancer and for help finding a treatment that works best for you.