At Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin Froedtert Hospital, we understand that transplant surgery and organ donation procedures impact all aspects of life for patients, in addition to their physical and medical health. Many experts make up the transplant team, which is dedicated to making the transplant process as smooth and successful as possible.
Transplant coordinators are registered nurses specially trained to guide patients and families through the transplant experience. They are the central contact for patients, connecting them with all of the experts they need, both medical and non-medical. They coordinate initial evaluations and testing, physician visits, patient education, surgery, recovery and care after transplant. Some transplant coordinators follow patients through the entire transplant process. Others follow patients from evaluation through surgery, then transition care to a post-transplant coordinator. Care for live donor patients and for patients receiving a ventricular assist device (VAD) is also overseen by coordinators dedicated to their care.
Physician Assistants and Nurse Practitioners
Transplant advanced practice nurse practitioners (APNPs) and certified physician assistants (PA-Cs) provide medical care for transplant patients under the supervision of a physician. The transplant specialists assist with many aspects of patient care before and after transplant. Obtaining medical histories, conducting physical exams and ordering tests are just a few of their responsibilities.
Transplant Registered Dietitian
Sound nutrition is essential to a transplant patient’s health. A transplant registered dietitian provides an initial assessment of nutritional health, then works with patients to manage their weight, diabetes, elevated cholesterol or other factors related to diet. They will also help patients and families manage special nutritional needs before and after transplant.
After transplant, a pharmacist specializing in transplant medications works with patients to make sure they understand their medication regimen and what to expect while taking immunosuppression agents. They will review dosages, side effects and possible drug interactions. They also are available to suggest possible adjustments that help patients feel as healthy as possible.
Transplant Financial Liaison
A financial liaison helps patients and families understand the financial cost of transplantation, their insurance benefits and resources available to assist if there is financial need.
Therapists and Rehabilitation Specialists
Physical and respiratory therapists, cardio-pulmonary rehabilitation specialists, and other professionals are involved in patient care as needed to increase strength and endurance before surgery. They also help patients rebuild their level of function after transplant.
Transplant psychologists are doctorate-level behavioral health professionals. They help patients and families evaluate their readiness for transplant and the challenges of life after the procedure. They also help patients and families manage possible stress, depression and anxiety that can stem from transplant, and provide strategies for improving quality of life post-transplant.
Transplant Social Worker
Specially trained to support transplant patients and families, transplant social workers offer assistance for the challenges the transplant process can bring. They help with initial evaluations, facilitate support groups, provide supportive counseling and can supply information about local housing and community-based resources.
Transplant Alcohol and Other Drug Addictions (AODA) Specialist
A transplant AODA specialist helps transplant patients overcome addictions to drugs or alcohol before transplant so they can be as healthy as possible prior to the procedure. They are also available to assist during recovery to prevent relapse or new addictions.
Living Donor Advocates
A living donor advocate supports people interested in being a live organ donor and works in their best interest throughout the donation process. Federal regulations require that an independent donor advocate be appointed by transplant programs to make sure the donor’s evaluation and care is safe. Advocates help identify emotional concerns, clarify decision making, make sure support systems are in place and act on behalf of the living donor through surgery, recovery and life after living donation.