How You Can Help Kidney Transplant Patients

A kidney transplant is a life-changing opportunity that comes with great opportunities. A kidney recipient can now have more time to enjoy life and more freedom to accomplish their goals. With this gift, the patient and caregiver will also have increased responsibilities to manage a new way of life. These tips will lessen caregiver stress, and allow you to help a kidney transplant patient stay healthy and active following transplant surgery.

Support Follow-up Care

After kidney transplant surgery, the medical team monitors the patient closely with appointments back at the hospital or doctor’s office. Because these can occur many times per week, the patient may grow tired of the trips. To help with this, bring along a laptop or tablet loaded with their favorite music, TV shows, and games. A deck of cards or a stack of books and puzzles may also brighten the day. To keep the conversation interesting, stay aware of current events so that you have non-medical topics to talk about.

At home, the patient has to avoid heavy lifting so give them a system to carry out day to day tasks. Place their household items within easy reach, solicit help for household chores, and hire assistance for outdoor work such as washing the car and mowing the lawn.

Promote A Healthy Lifestyle

It’s normal to feel tired or weak following transplant surgery. Urge the patient to regain energy and endurance with engagement in regular exercise and proper nutrition. Walking is a terrific activity to open up the lungs and pump blood back from the legs to the heart. Even if the walk is just around the living room, it can still help from getting pneumonia or blood clots.

When it comes to healing and infection prevention, the patient’s body will have an increased need for nutritional reinforcement. A transplant dietitian will create an eating plan for the patient to use. Supply them with copies of the eating plan and assist them in grocery trips and food preparation. Keep in mind that the “anti-rejection medications” protect the new kidney, but also leave the kidney transplant patient more susceptible to illness. Because of this, food preparation safety is even more important. Wash hands, clean cutting boards, use separate knives for raw meats and vegetables, and properly refrigerate foods that need to be at a cool temperature.

Watch For Signs of Kidney Rejection

Medication regimens are created for a kidney transplant patient to prevent organ rejection, which could occur at any time. Be aware of the early signs of kidney rejection, and encourage them to immediately call their medical team if warranted. Pain or tenderness over the transplant area, flu-like symptoms, and decreased urine output are issues that need to be quickly shared with a physician. Although the thought of rejection can be frightening, it won’t necessarily end with the loss of the kidney. An adjustment of the medication can usually get the transplant patient back into recovery.

While caring for a kidney transplant patient, remember that your physical and mental health matters also. Being a caregiver can be exhausting, so take precautions to keep yourself in good condition. Help them by being compassionate to yourself.

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