A Team Approach to Kidney Transplant
Kidney transplantation can be a difficult and lengthy process. At Jefferson, we want you to know that you are not alone. A multidisciplinary team of experts will be involved in your care every step of the way, from preoperative evaluation to surgery and follow-up. Meet our team:
Before you can be evaluated by our Kidney Transplant team, there are several steps that must be completed. The financial coordinator contacts your health insurance payer for preapproval, the necessary authorizations and other payment issues.
Once the financial coordinator has obtained the necessary authorization, a Transplant Program social worker will reach out to you to set up the first appointment. At your first appointment, you should plan on spending about half a day getting educated about the process, meeting other Jefferson Kidney Transplant staff and signing consent forms. You will first meet with the social worker for about an hour. A social worker is a professional who evaluates readiness for transplantation and helps support your psychosocial needs. Issues such as employment and education history, family dynamics and financial support will be addressed.
Kidney Transplant Coordinators
During the initial evaluation, you will also meet with a pre-transplant coordinator. This is a nurse who serves as your point of contact throughout the evaluation and listing process. During this session, you will receive a thorough overview of kidney transplantation, as well as an overview of Jefferson's Transplant Program and staff. The pre-transplant coordinator also reviews the in-depth Consent for Evaluation for Kidney Transplant with you, which you must understand and sign before you can proceed with a transplant evaluation.
Then the pre-transplant coordinator outlines the medical tests and consultations that must be performed as part of the evaluation process. Once the necessary test results have been received, the transplant coordinator presents your records to the multidisciplinary team for review to determine whether or not you are a good candidate for transplant. If approved for a transplant (being listed), you will be notified by the transplant coordinator.
If you are placed on the transplant waiting list, the pre-transplant coordinator remains your main point of contact, as most testing will need to be updated every year. The coordinator will review all test results to assure your continued readiness for transplant.
Following kidney transplant, the post-transplant coordinator meets with you before discharge from the Hospital and provides education regarding medications, plans for follow-up care and signs and symptoms of transplant rejection. And then, for the life of the transplant, the post-transplant coordinator assists with the monitoring of lab values and adjustment of medications in order to assure the best possible outcomes.
Psychologist and Psychiatrist
Kidney transplantation can sometimes be an emotional process. A Jefferson psychologist or psychiatrist is always on hand to meet with you to hear your concerns both pre- and post-surgery.
Along the way, you will meet a medical assistant who aids our transplant coordinators with post-transplant clinical operations such as material and chart preparation, retrieval and documentation of diagnostic studies. The medical assistant also participates in weekly transplant clinics by performing vital signs, reviewing medications, confirming prior authorization of any medication needed and retrieving and recording lab results.
Independent Donor Advocate
If you are a potential living organ donor, you will be provided with an Independent Donor Advocate (IDA). It is the IDA's responsibility to promote the best interests of the potential living donor, advocate for the rights of the potential donor and assist the potential donor in obtaining and understanding information regarding the consent process, evaluation process, surgical procedure and benefit and need for follow-up care.
Eating properly is a vital part of your recovery process. The transplant dietitian works with an interdisciplinary healthcare team to provide nutrition services and medical nutrition therapy that are integrated and compatible with your medical goals and objectives. The dietitian provides nutrition counseling to the recipients and the donors throughout the transplant process from the pre-transplant through the post-transplant phase.
The transplant pharmacist offers pharmacy services such as therapeutic drug monitoring and will educate you on the potential side effects and drug interactions of any medication you may receive. The pharmacist may also offer you counseling on individualized drug regimens.
Outreach and Education Coordinator
The outreach and education coordinator is responsible for promoting Jefferson's Kidney Transplant Program to referring physicians and hospital administrators. This includes developing and maintaining relationships with referring physicians, facilitating the ease of access to Jefferson’s Transplant Services and coordinating educational events for healthcare professionals, patients and family. The coordinator’s close interaction with referring physicians and patients allows for opportunities of service improvement.
If you wish to contact the outreach and education coordinator of Jefferson's Kidney Transplant Program, please call 215-955-6734.