Each person who comes to the Transplant Center at Virginia Mason Franciscan Health in Seattle meets a team of experienced health care providers.
At Virginia Mason Franciscan Health, a transplant nephrologist works closely with you throughout the transplant process. Nephrologists are medical doctors who specialize in kidney disease. They manage the day-to-day decisions about medicines, tests and treatments. The nephrologist takes time to explain all medical plans and tests, and will teach you how to best manage your health. After discharge from the hospital, the nephrologist evaluates your medical issues many times each week. If you live out of the area, our nephrologist provides your referring nephrologist the necessary medical details and maps out the road ahead. Our nephrologists are also available for any questions your referring doctors may have and for transplant consultations at Virginia Mason Franciscan Health.
The transplant surgeon performs the transplant operation. Our transplant surgeons have extensive training and experience with these procedures. They are involved in your care prior to transplantation and throughout your hospitalization. They lead the team, along with the nephrologist that determines your care after transplant. Our surgeons will meet you during the evaluation and will describe the technical aspects of the surgery and the anticipated results, also providing an opportunity to ask any questions. When an organ becomes available for you, the surgeon prepares the organ for transplant and performs the surgery. This procedure lasts between three and four hours. Following surgery, the surgeon will see you daily, along with the transplant team. We use this time to determine the plan to ensure recovery and discharge from the hospital. Transplant surgery requires a team of doctors and includes residents and doctors in training. These doctors assist with the surgery and are learning the advanced techniques of transplant surgery. You can be assured that the transplant surgeon is in control of the operation and all surgical decisions while you are in the hospital.
The transplant nurse coordinator is a registered nurse who has special training and an interest in transplantation. The transplant nurse coordinator is your contact person for any concerns that arise before, during and after surgery. Coordinators meet you for an education session, facilitate contact with your local nephrologist or doctor and work with team members to ensure smooth transitions during this process.
The transplant social worker helps you understand the non-medical problems, challenges and changes that transplantation brings. This can be something as simple as transportation to the clinic after discharge from the hospital, or the more complex issues of support and organizing special care needs. Transplant social workers spend time with you to help determine if everyone involved has realistic expectations about the surgery and if you have the ability to care for the responsibility of having a transplant. The social worker will work with you, caregivers and donors to provide information, resources and support.
Making sure you have adequate insurance coverage and the resources for care after transplantation requires a specialist. Financial coordinators provide this help. They can help you understand the regulations and insurance rules, making your transplant a reality. Our financial coordinators help you work through the process, ensuring your transplant will go smoothly.
Dedicated transplant nurses work around the clock in the hospital to help you through hospitalization after surgery. They take you through the post-operative recovery and get you back on your feet. These busy nurses enjoy sharing in the progress you make during the brief hospital stay.
It can be overwhelming to learn about all the new medicines needed after a transplant. A transplant pharmacist is in the hospital to provide you with information and help you through the process. Our pharmacists use videos, pictures, actual medicines and one-on-one teaching to make sure the new pills quickly become familiar. Teaching sessions are held at the bedside so that all questions are answered.
When the transplant surgeon gives you the go ahead to start eating after surgery, the transplant dietitian can help advise you on a healthy diet. Our helpful menus, suggestions and advice get you eating properly.