The Liver Transplant Team
You will get to know the many healthcare professionals involved in the transplant process. They're here to answer your questions and help you make decisions regarding your child's healthcare. They can provide valuable emotional support during this difficult time. Don't be afraid to voice your questions and concerns to them. You will meet these team members:
- Transplant surgeons: Our surgeons are some of the most experienced in liver transplant and complex hepatobiliary surgery cases. Drs. Olthoff and Shaked have performed more than 1,000 liver transplants. They will care for your child before the transplant and continue to follow him or her after the transplant and discharge.
- Transplant physicians/hepatologists: These physicians specialize in transplant medicine and liver disease, but are not surgeons. Transplant physicians coordinate the team and manage nutrition, infections and immune suppression issues before, during and after transplant. They also conduct research; Dr. Rand is principal investigator for several multicenter collaborative studies related to liver disease and transplantation. CHOP’s Fred and Suzanne Biesecker Pediatric Liver Center, which specializes in liver diseases, is one of the largest in the nation.
- Nurse transplant coordinators: These are nurse practitioners who organize the transplant process, from pre-transplant evaluation to post-transplant care. The transplant coordinator is your contact and serves as a link between the transplant team and the other healthcare professionals involved in your child's care.
- Nursing staff: Nurses plan and provide inpatient day-to-day care for your child, both before and after transplant. They will give you information about specific tests so you and your child will be well-prepared and will know what to expect. They will also teach you how to care for your child after transplantation.
- Social workers: Our licensed social workers provide emotional and other support to your family and help everyone deal with lodging, transportation, financial and legal issues. They can connect you with valuable community resources. They can also help coordinate alternative means for school, so your child doesn't fall behind.
- Nutritionist/dietitian: This nutritional expert works with you to develop the best diet for your child. Many children with liver disease don't feel like eating and have growth problems. The nutritionist will work with your child to encourage healthy eating behaviors that can help prevent illness and speed recovery.
- Child life specialist: This team member works with your child to help him or her cope with the hospital experience through play and other appropriate activities.
- Psychologist: Our psychologist assesses you and your child's ability to cope with the transplant process. He or she may recommend strategies to manage the stresses of transplant and hospitalization.
- Case manager/discharge planner: A case manager stays in contact with the insurance company. He or she will arrange for any equipment or services your child will need during your child's hospitalization after transplant.
- Physical therapists: They will help your child become strong and independent with movement and endurance after transplant.
- Pastoral care: Our chaplains provide spiritual care and support.
- Pharmacists: CHOP pharmacists can help answer questions about your child's medications. Our liver transplant team uses a dedicated transplant pharmacist to assist in parent education before, during, and after transplant.
- Anesthesiologists: Our anesthesiologists offer pain relief options before, during and after surgery.
- Respiratory therapists: They give treatments to children having breathing difficulties.
- Cardiologists: These are physicians who specialize in heart care.
- Hematologists: These physicians specialize in caring for blood-related health problems.
- Nephrologists: These physicians specialize in caring for the kidneys.
- Infectious disease specialists: These are physicians who specialize in the treatment of infectious illnesses, such as chickenpox and cytomegalovirus (CMV).
- Lab technicians: These technicians support staff in areas such as laboratory and radiology.
Reviewed by: Elizabeth B. Rand, MD
Date: October 2012