The purpose of the first visit is for you to learn about transplant and for the transplant team to begin to evaluate you. You and the team must both agree that moving forward with the transplant evaluation will be in your best interest. The pre-transplant clinic visit is the starting point. We will also look at other issues such as history with your illness, present and past health problems and behaviors. Depending on these, you may be referred for other consultations.
You will see psychiatry and possibly cardiology or other consults depending on your age, sex, or health status. As you can see, the evaluation process has many steps and is done with individual needs in mind. Our goal is to complete your evaluation in the shortest possible time but this can only happen with your input and cooperation.
The Transplant Evaluation Process
- The Transplant Physician or Hepatologist will take a detailed medical history, assess you physically, and check for anything that would prevent surgery.
- The Transplant Surgeon will also take a history and will be looking at your abdomen to see if there are any scars, masses, hernias or anything that might pose a problem with the transplant surgery.
- The Transplant Coordinator, who is an RN, will also review your medical history and discuss how you can complete your evaluation in a timely way. The coordinator is your contact person with the program. The coordinator is in charge of receiving and evaluating all studies and communicating with the other members of the team. At the end of your appointment, you will know the name of your coordinator.
- The Social Worker will assess for any issues that would affect a good post-transplant outcome such as transportation and whether you will be able to take all of your medicines. They will assess your support system – people who can help you with recovery and others.
- The Financial Coordinator will explain what your health insurance will pay for in regard to the surgery and medications. She/He will be your contact person if you are experiencing any financial issues or changes in your insurance.
- The Dietitian will be available to review your current nutritional status and to make any suggestions to keep you nutritionally in good health for your condition. If there is a weight issue, she will recommend a suitable diet that will allow you to lose the extra pounds required for your transplant.
- The Pharmacist will perform an assessment of your current medications and provide education regarding transplant-related medications. Education will include transplant-specific medications, your need to be compliant with your medications, and risks for drug interaction.
Importance of Maintaining Contact with the Transplant Coordinator
As a transplant candidate, you have certain responsibilities to help the team. Among these responsibilities are the following:
- To inform the transplant team of any change in your medical condition.
- To inform the transplant team of any change in your financial situation that would affect your ability to pay for medical care.
- To inform the transplant team of any changes in your social support system, such as loss of your main support person or any big change in my life.
- To inform the transplant team of any significant weight gain or loss.
- To inform the transplant team of any changes in your address and phone numbers so that you can be contacted for medical reasons or to be informed of the availability of a suitable organ.
- To attend all appointments, whether they are for testing or doctor’s visit.
- To take any medications as your doctors have instructed.
- To attempt to improve your health by not smoking, drinking alcohol or using non-prescribed medications or street drugs.