Experienced and Compassionate Team Supports Your Liver Transplant
Doctors at Loyola Medicine are experienced and compassionate in caring for patients with end-stage liver disease. Once your hepatologist has determined that your best medical option is a liver transplant, you will be evaluated for the possibility of a transplant through a number of tests to determine if your body is strong enough to tolerate the surgery and required medications. Once your test results are in and you are officially eligible for a liver transplant, you will meet your liver transplant team.
Your Loyola liver transplant team will be your partner in finding a suitable organ match. Living donors will first be explored; and if a match is not found, you will be placed on the national waiting list for a deceased donor.
During this time, your transplant team will support you in your efforts to stay healthy while you wait for your transplant surgery. It is important that you continue all treatment as recommended, take all medications as prescribed, follow the dietary plan provided by your nutritionist, stay active and keep all appointments with your healthcare team.
Once a match is found, your transplant team will guide you through the process of preparing your body for transplant surgery, provide expert care during your surgery and support you in recovery. This multidisciplinary group of expert clinicians and support staff includes:
- Transplant hepatologist
- Transplant surgeon
- Nurse coordinator
- Nurse practitioners
- Living donor nurse coordinator (if applicable)
- Living donor advocate (if applicable)
- Clinical pharmacist
- Financial coordinator
- Social worker
Multidisciplinary Experts in Liver Transplant Surgery and Recovery
Your Loyola liver transplant team includes the following expert clinicians who will support you in all aspects of your transplant care and recovery:
- Transplant hepatologist — Your transplant hepatologist is a doctor who specializes in end-stage liver disease. Your hepatologist will conduct your evaluation and determine whether you are a candidate for liver transplant. Your doctor will order various tests to determine your MELD score (model for end-stage liver disease), which is used for the liver transplant waiting list. This doctor also will help keep you in the best of health while you wait for a liver to become available.
- Transplant surgeon — Your transplant surgeon is the specialist who will perform your surgery. When you meet your transplant surgeon during your evaluation, we encourage you to ask any questions you have about the procedure. You will see your surgeon mostly during your hospital stay. Loyola’s surgeons are highly skilled in both minimally invasive surgery and open surgery. Learn more about liver transplant surgery.
- Nurse coordinator — Your nurse coordinator is a central part of your care team and an expert in transplant patient care. Our nurse coordinators are registered nurses who are responsible for arranging blood tests, liver function tests and other labs you will need during your evaluation. They have extensive experience with chronic diseases and will instruct you on all aspects of transplant surgery, including immunosuppressive drugs, psychosocial assessment, financial issues, coping skills and your transplant risks and benefits. Your coordinator will make arrangements for your surgery and hospital stay. After your transplant surgery, your coordinator will help you with your hospital discharge and set up any needed lab tests and follow-up appointments.
- Nurse practitioners — Loyola’s nurse practitioners work collaboratively with your doctors to prescribe medications, diagnose conditions and develop treatment plans. They also will make sure that you understand every step in the transplant process. In addition, our nurse practitioners are adept at recognizing the signs of rejection and infection.
- Living donor nurse coordinator — Loyola’s living donor nurse coordinators oversee the care of living donors both before and after transplant surgery. The coordinator will facilitate appointments for your liver donor and arrange evaluation tests. Before surgery, the coordinator will provide extensive education to the donor on the donation process. Learn more about our living liver donor program.
- Living donor advocate — Loyola’s living donor advocates (LDA) ensure that your donor is making the decision to donate free and clear of any coercion or pressure. Nothing the donor discusses with the LDA, or anything related to his or her medical condition, is ever discussed with the recipient’s team. The donor is free to change his or her mind about donation at any time. Learn more about our living liver donor program.
- Clinical pharmacist — Your clinical pharmacist will provide you with instructions on the medications that you will take after your transplant. Your clinical pharmacist will evaluate the drugs you are prescribed and monitor any side effects you may experience. In addition, your pharmacist will be on the watch for any possible negative drug interactions. As a key member of your medical team, your pharmacist will monitor and adjust your anti-rejection medication if necessary.
- Dietitian — Your transplant dietitian’s role is to help you reach your nutrition goals. At your first appointment, your dietitian will assess your nutrition habits, look into any possible vitamin and mineral deficiencies, conduct a nutrition and weight history, assess any need for weight loss and talk about possible dietary restrictions. With this information, your dietitian will develop a nutritional plan to help you to be as healthy as possible for your transplant surgery.
- Financial coordinator — We know that the thought of a transplant can be overwhelming—not just emotionally, but financially as well. Loyola’s financial coordinators are well-versed in insurance protocols and will do the heavy lifting for you. Your coordinator will find out whether your insurance covers procedures at Loyola and connect you with an insurance case manager. In addition, financial coordinators work with your nurses and insurance case manager to make sure that your insurance has approved you for a transplant and pre-certified you for hospital admission.
- Social worker — Loyola’s transplant social workers are involved in all aspects of the transplant process. They are skilled in psychosocial assessments and provide a wide range of services for patients and their families, including patient and family counseling, patient education, financial resources and support groups. Social workers see patients in the hospital and outpatient clinics and are available for phone consultations.
If you would like to make an appointment or need assistance in finding the appropriate doctor, please call us at 708-327-4TXP/708-327-4897.