Ten Tips on Preparing for Your Transplant Surgery
1. Make sure your transplant team knows how to reach you. When an organ becomes available, we need to be able to contact you within an hour or we have to move on to the next patient.
• Keep your cell phone ringer on and next to your bed.
• Put ringers on the loudest available.
• Keep your cell phone charged.
• Take your cell phone everywhere: church, grocery, doctor appointments.
• Give your coordinator contact numbers of close family or friends. We will call someone you have listed to help us find you if we can’t reach you at your main numbers.
2. Have your support persons in place. This is often a family member or close friend.
• Choose 1 to 2 people you feel close with who have the time, health and flexibility to be your caregiver.
• Be clear with your support person about what you are asking them to do for you and allow them to say “No” if they don’t really feel they can commit this to you.
• A support person will need to be available for rides, coming to appointments, and helping you out at home.
• When you are hospitalized, it is good to have someone that is able to attend classes with you.
• Think about where they will stay while you are in the hospital. UW Housing offers discounted rates at many hotels. Many area hotels have shuttles available. The housing number is 608-263-0315. It is also good to have someone available to help you when you come home from your transplant for the first 7-10 days at a minimum.
3. Allow others to help you when you need it. Sometimes we have to let go of our pride and desire to be independent and allow others the opportunity to help us. Think about how you have felt when someone has had an illness, a death or even a new baby in the family. People are usually quite happy to chip in to help but need to know how they can help you. Maybe it is picking up a few things at the store for you when they go, or a meal delivered to your door, raking or lawn mowing. When you are back to full speed, you can pay those people back with a small favor. Sometimes it’s the littlest things in life that can mean so much.
4. Organize personal affairs.
• This means filling out advance directives and health care power of attorney forms.
• This also means planning for your bill payments, mail, and email while you are not able to do these things.
• There are many ways to do this, but you need to plan in advance so that it is easy for someone to take over for you at any time.
5. Think about child and pet care arrangements for when you are in the hospital. Research your options and have phone numbers, supplies, etc ready to go.
6. Arrange for your transportation needs. When you get the call that an organ is available, you need to know how you are going to get to the UW Hospital, and have the means to do it. After transplant you will have many clinic visits, some which will be unplanned.
• Have gas in the car.
• Have some cash available at all times.
• Have a driver and a back up driver available.
• Have printed directions ready for your driver and/or a GPS unit available to use.
7. Pack your bags. You will need to be ready to go fairly quickly after you get the call.
• You should have a bag packed with loose clothing (sweat pants or something with elastic or drawstring waist bands), T shirts, socks and a good supportive shoe for when you are doing therapy and going to class.
• You can also pack hygiene items, pajamas, slippers, robes etc. Personal comfort items (favorite blanket or pillow) are also fine.
• You will also need to have your medicine list and insurance cards and 1 day of medicines ready to go.
8. Think about setting up a phone/email tree or blog or a key contact person so that you are not having a lot of phone calls each day when you are in the hospital. Your hospital time is for rest and recovery, classes, procedures, etc. Sleep patterns also change when you are hospitalized and getting as much rest as possible while you are here is very important.
9. Learn about transplant and what to expect. As you learn what to expect, you will feel more comfortable with the process. Education is empowerment and empowered patients are able to feel active in their care plan.
• Carefully review your transplant binder and watch the DVD.
• Do this once a month while you wait for your call.
• Do some internet research.
• Join a transplant support group in person or online.
10. Take time each day to get a little exercise. Fresh air is good for the mind, soul and body. Sometimes it is hard to make yourself walk or do physical activity when you don’t feel good. But the more you actively use your muscles pre transplant, the quicker your physical recovery.
The information provided should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
Last Updated: 05/09/2012
Copyright © 05/09/2012 University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#7357
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