Transplant patients and their families can gain support from many different types of groups, including group gatherings, educational programs, one-on-one support, social activities, newsletters, written materials, Internet groups, and talking on the telephone. As patients' transplant experiences continue, they often gain confidence and reach out others, in turn making lifelong friends, enjoying social activities and finding opportunities to promote the need for organ and tissue donation.
Reasons for Joining
Joining a support group can be of great benefit to you, your family and your friends. Sharing your concerns, fears, struggles, experiences and triumphs with fellow patients and their families can be comforting, as well as give you encouragement and confidence. People with similar conditions can provide a feeling of security and comfort and assure you that you are "not alone."
It is also encouraging to see how recipients, who have had their transplants for several years, and their families are coping and how they are enjoying their new life. You'll meet people who are waiting for their transplant, those who have just had a transplant and others who were transplanted years ago.
Guest speakers inform you of trends in transplantation, new medications, insurance issues, stress relief, etc. Groups share helpful information such as how to deal with insurance companies, where to find drugstores with the best service and prices and more.
Types of support groups include:
- Hospital Support Groups
Usually run by the hospital transplant coordinator, social worker or other member of the transplant team, these types of support groups may consist of patients who are pre- or post-transplant or are hospitalized with transplant-related problems. These types of groups also typically meet more frequently than non-hospital groups.
- Local Support Groups
Usually run by transplant patient, these groups consist of pre- and post-transplant patients and their families. They allow members who have already had their transplant to help you with the adjustment to a more normal, everyday lifestyle. They usually have monthly meetings and special events.
- Telephone Networking
Through your hospital or support group, telephone networking can introduce you to other patients who share similar experiences from the comfort of your own home. This type of contact allows you to get to know other patients in similar situations (same organ, same transplant center, same transplant-related problem), who may offer help and knowledge from their own transplant experiences.
- Internet Support Groups
These groups can provide you with a broad range of experiences from all over the world. In addition, Internet support groups allow allow you to ask personal questions in the confort of your own home.
- Professional Organizations
Professional organizations provide educational seminars, materials and activities. They also may conduct fundraising to support research and help shape healthcare policy.
The United Network for Organ Sharing is committed to providing accurate and reliable information for transplant patients.
The content on this page was originally created on August 15, 2003 by the United Network for Organ Sharing and last modified on October 10, 2003.
This Web site is intended solely for the purpose of electronically providing the public with general health-related information and convenient access to the data resources. UNOS is not affiliated with any one product nor does UNOS assume responsibility for any error, omissions or other discrepancies.