People you should know
Know your transplant team
After your transplant, you are not in it alone. You are part of a team that is there to help you recover from your transplant surgery, understand the post-op care, and provide comprehensive supportive care. Knowing the members that make up your transplant team is important for a successful and healthy recovery after your organ transplant.
Darnell Waun, a nurse and liver transplant recipient, talks about how to manage your transplant medications.
Depending on your specific organ transplant procedure, you will be assigned a specialized transplant physician who will monitor all nonsurgical aspects of your care from organ function to organ rejection and medications post-transplant. Examples of specialized physicians based on organ are as follows:
- Kidney – Transplant nephrologist
- Liver – Transplant hepatologist
- Heart – Transplant cardiologist
Your transplant surgeon will be the operating physician who will perform your transplant. Your transplant surgeon will likely check in with you prior to surgery as well as post-surgery to ensure your new transplanted organ is functioning properly along with a full health evaluation.
Medical care team
There are multiple medical care team members that monitor your health and care while you are in the hospital recovering from your transplant surgery. This transplantation care team often includes doctors, nurses, and coordinators depending on your individual needs. Throughout your care, you may have some or all of the following health professionals on your post-transplant care team:
- Medical residents
- Physician assistant
- Nurse practitioner (NP)
- Operating room nurse
- Intensive care nurse
- Transplant assistant
- Procurement coordinator
- Case manager
A consulting physicians may be part of your organ transplant care team depending on your specific health needs. These are doctors who specialize in certain aspects of your healthcare.
- Nephrologists (kidney disease)
- Cardiologists (heart disease)
- Hepatologists (liver disease)
- Hematologists (blood disease)
- Oncologists (cancer treatment)
- Infectious disease specialists (contagious diseases)
- Anesthesiologists (anesthesia)
- Psychiatrists/psychologists (treat mental illness)
Your transplant coordinator is the person who will coordinate your care from beginning to end. They will perform a number of duties to keep track of how you are progressing throughout the transplant process.
Some of their responsibilities include:
- Organizing health evaluations
- Checking your test results
- Educating you and your caregivers before and after transplant
- Providing discharge instructions
- Maintaining accurate medical information
As part of your organ transplant journey, social workers are made available through your individual transplant center. These social workers are specifically trained to assist people going through the organ transplant process. Social workers can help with a number of topics including providing financial resources, getting your medication, finding transportation, helping you adjust to returning to work, and more.
Transplant financial coordinator
Your transplant financial coordinator is a trained professional at your transplant center who is available to help patients, caregivers, and families manage their transplant costs. These individuals may help provide guidance on payment schedules or medical coverage that can provide organ transplant financial assistance.
Your physical therapist will help you to determine an exercise plan to keep your health on-track post-transplant. This plan will be tailored to your individual health needs to help keep your muscles strong, control your weight, and keep a normal activity level after your transplant.
Your dietitian or nutritionist can help you with meal planning and any specific dietary requirements you should be aware of depending on your transplant. These are trained professionals who can consult on optimal nutritional after your transplant.
Your pharmacist can advise and coordinate your prescriptions after your organ transplant. They can also provide best practices and consult with you on how these medications may affect you.