Hospital Wants More Patients to 'Explore Transplant'
CINCINNATI—Kidney transplantation can mean a new lease on life for patients on dialysis, removing them from the procedure’s demanding schedule and giving them a new, functioning organ.
But medical professionals at UC Health University Hospital are concerned that some local patients aren’t aware of the full possibilities of transplantation. To reach out to them, they are first reaching out to the nurses and professionals who see those patients regularly, the ones at dialysis clinics across Greater Cincinnati.
On Friday, Dec. 4, University Hospital will host Explore Transplant, a one-day educational seminar designed to teach dialysis professionals how to talk to patients about transplantation and living donation.
During the program, nurses and social workers from more than 20 regional dialysis clinics will hear from UC Health transplant surgeon E. Steve Woodle, MD, UC Health kidney transplant nephrologist Gautham Mogilishetty, MD, and Washington University social psychologist and Explore Transplant creator Amy Waterman, PhD.
Waterman first started Explore Transplant at St. Louis' Barnes-Jewish Hospital, funded with a grant by the Health Resources and Services Administration. By talking providers through a series of three to four patient meetings, Explore Transplant aims to help providers assess the individual patient’s stage of readiness and comfort in pursuing transplantation.
At the end of the session, providers will be equipped to educate patients about the transplant waiting list, the transplant procedure and the options for living donation from a loved one. They'll also have a DVD with testimonials from patients on the transplant experience.
Woodle says it's crucial that patients know all their options when it comes to transplantation.
"A patient's life expectancy is much better having tried a transplant than not,” he says. “Furthermore, patients with a living donor kidney have a better chance at more years with a functioning kidney than patients with a deceased donor kidney. Dialysis patients should be aware of their options in order to make the best choice for themselves and their loved ones."
This will be the first time a hospital outside the St. Louis area has hosted the Explore Transplant program. University Hospital transplant administrator Paul Volek says UC Health will expand the original seminar with post-program surveys to dialysis providers and patients.
Eventually, they will compare survey data with Dallas' Methodist Hospital to see how many patients have been reached with Explore Transplant educational materials and, from those, how many patients have taken steps towards transplantation.
"We're not just repeating the program, but expanding it and measuring whether it has an outcome on patients," says Volek.