All transplant candidates begin the program by meeting with the transplant coordinator and surgeon. Each candidate will undergo a comprehensive series of tests. Some of these tests are required for any operative procedure (history and physical, chest x-ray, EKG, etc.) while others (such as specific blood tests, echocardiogram) are required for transplantation surgery.
After a candidate is accepted for transplantation, he or she is listed with the Hartford Hospital Transplant Program and the national lists of the United Network of Organ Sharing
(UNOS). The allocation of organs is based upon a point system which takes into account time on the waiting list, blood type compatibility and other factors. Because of the ongoing shortage of donor organs in this country, candidates may be on waiting lists for 2 years or longer. In the case of kidney patients, the identification of possible living donors is an important part of the pre-transplant screening process.
A Network of Support
During the initial stages of evaluation, the patient undergoes many tests and sees many specialists. This is also the time when the patient is first introduced to the support network. The transplant coordinators, social worker, and Financial Coordinator play an extremely important role in providing this support.
The Transplant Coordinators
are involved in the pre-transplant screening and stay involved throughout the years of follow-up care. In this way, patients benefit from having the same people throughout their participation in the program. Our patients tell us that the transplant coordinators, because of the range of their involvement and the depth of their concern, are essential participants in the support network.
Our social workers are a resource, advocate and a link between patients and all the services designed to assist them. The social worker helps patients and their families address the many complex social and personal issues that arise for transplant patients. The services range from helping with personal and psychological issues that result from living with a chronic medical condition, to lodging, joining support groups and receiving vocational rehabilitation.
The Financial Coordinator
assists patients with financial and insurance issues related to transplantation. The services include assessing patient insurance for hospital and pharmacy benefits, identifying and attempting to resolve patient financial problems, and helping patients in requesting and applying for assistance from transplant resource programs.
In addition, there are Support Groups available.