Each person who comes to UPMC for an organ transplant will have at least one coordinator. We assign them to you before you even visit Pittsburgh.
But what is an organ transplant coordinator?
Think of them as your single point of contact at UPMC Transplant Services.
Your coordinator will guide you through the entire transplant process — from the evaluation, through transplant surgery, to your return to daily life.
What Does a Transplant Coordinator Do?
Some of your organ transplant coordinator's tasks are to:
- Request your medical records before your transplant evaluation. For some types of transplants, the team needs to review your records and test results to see if you're a good fit for an in-person evaluation.
- Schedule your transplant evaluation visit at UPMC. Depending on the type of transplant you need, you may meet with many members of the transplant team over the course of two or three days. Your coordinator will make these appointments in advance of your visit.
- Answer any questions or concerns that you or your caregivers have. The transplant evaluation and waiting process can be complex and confusing at times. It may even be hard to know what questions to ask. Your coordinator will give you and your caregivers a binder of information and answer any questions.
- Introduce you and your caregivers to your transplant team. Many members make up the transplant team at UPMC. Your coordinator will make sure you meet your transplant doctors, surgeons, nutritionist or dietitian, pharmacist, social worker, and credit analyst.
Your coordinator will also let you know the results of your transplant evaluation testing, and if you're eligible for placement on the transplant waiting list.
Once we place you on the organ transplant waiting list, we may assign a new coordinator for this phase of the process.
The waiting list coordinator's tasks are to:
- Ensure you know what doctor's appointments you need while waiting for an organ. Some organ transplant candidates return home during the waiting period. Some may be too sick and have to stay in the hospital while they wait. Others may need to stay in Pittsburgh or return to UPMC on a regular basis for exams.
- Provide you and your caregivers with the support you need during the waiting period. Your coordinator or other members of the transplant team can provide you with information on support groups, educational opportunities, nutritional advice, and even other reliable resources that you may find helpful.
- Calling to let you know when we've found a matching organ. Your transplant coordinator will have multiple contact numbers for you. This will allow him or her to get in touch with you as soon as we have a match.
Your coordinator will remain your point of contact through the end of the transplant process. This includes during your recovery and after you have returned home.
You should contact your coordinator when you have questions about:
- Taking your medications
- Other drugs that you can and cannot take
- Insurance problems
Your Other Transplant Team Members at UPMC
- Transplant Financial Coordinator: This person will review your insurance coverage and benefits, help you understand your insurance, and discuss any potential options for coverage during your transplant process.
- Transplant Surgeon: Your surgeon will assess your personal risks and benefits of having a transplant. He or she will also review your medical records and history to see how your other doctors have managed your disease thus far.
- Physician Specialist: A doctor specializing in your illness will perform a medical history and physical. You may see this doctor until you have had your transplant.
- Dietitian or Nutritionist: A dietitian or nutritionist will talk with you about how a nutritional program can help you maintain optimal health both during and after the transplant process.
- Social Worker: Your social worker will meet with you to discuss the social aspects of the transplant process, including your support team once you return home after your transplant. Your social worker may also be able to help if you have issues with prescription coverage.
- Pharmacist: The pharmacist will meet with you to get a complete list of all medicines — both prescription and non-prescription — or supplements you take and discuss your schedule for taking them.