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Post-Transplant Care

patient 2One of the keys to transplant success is high-quality post-transplant care delivered at a center that is readily accessible to the patient.   The Lourdes Regional Transplantation Center takes pride in this phase of care, initiating education that starts as early as the pre-transplant evaluation visit.   The staff explains to patients that after transplant they will be followed by a new team of nurse coordinators who they will meet after surgery while they are still in the hospital.

This post-transplant support team provides detailed instructions, with emphasis on medication administration and the importance of compliance.   The center orders medications and prepares them for the patient prior to discharge.   Transplant recipients take daily anti-rejection medications to prevent rejection of the transplanted organ(s).

The team teaches patients self-monitoring, the importance of staying well hydrated, short-term activity restrictions and the plan for follow-up appointments.   Loved ones are invited to attend educational meetings as additional support helps maximize adherence to the after-care regimen. Postoperatively, transplant patients can have barriers to learning, including pain, medication-related challenges and fatigue that can impede their gaining self-care competence.

The team sends a summary of hospitalization and post-discharge plan to the primary care physician and referring specialist, so that these providers can continue to participate in the care of the patient.   Recipients are encouraged to follow-up with their primary care physician and specialists, for a comprehensive plan of care, including health maintenance and routine medical care.

While patients can generally become active again within six to 12 weeks after surgery, a recovery period of at least six months is usually required to resume normal activities such as work.   Maintaining a close relationship with the Lourdes team is essential, as patients will return for check-ups at which the staff assesses the new liver’s function and the patient’s overall health. The team schedules post-transplant follow-up appointments with the surgeon and transplant coordinator for each transplant recipient as follows:

  • at least weekly in the first month
  • every two weeks in the second month
  • monthly for the remainder of the first year
  • every other month in the second year
  • every three months in the third year
  • every six months after the third year.

The patient undergoes lab work at each visit.

Depending on a patient’s post-transplant status, the team may ask him or her to come to the office more frequently.   This is where accessibility to the transplant center is essential.   After the first year of transplant, visits are further spaced out.   Initially, labs are drawn at every visit and medications are thoroughly reviewed. Recipients are encouraged to follow-up with their primary care physician and specialists, for a comprehensive plan of care that leads to positive outcomes for the newly transplanted patient.

The transplant program at Virtua Our Lady of Lourdes considers each individual who receives a transplant a member of the Lourdes family.   The staff delivers attentive, individualized care to every transplant recipient.

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