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Kidney Course of Treatment

< Kidney Program Overview

Your Kidney Treatment Plan

Start Your Journey

Start Your Kidney Application

Your application to our kidney transplant program is more than paperwork. It's your story, our transplant team's window into your medical history and the first step toward finding your kidney match. From your first name to your last lab report, every little piece of information you share helps paint a bigger picture that arms us with the knowledge we need to start you on the right path to the right kidney. That's why it's so important to cross every "t," dot every "i" and read every word.

Collect Your Medical Records

Just as important as what's written on your application is the following list of medical records. Together with your application, these records help illustrate your journey up until this point. They're essential to helping us move the transplant process forward and we can't process your application without them.

Send the following medical records along with your completed application form:

  • Nephrologist's History and physical (typed copy)
  • Current office notes/progress notes from nephrologist
  • Dialysis Social Worker Initial Evaluation (only if you have already begun dialysis)
  • Copy of ESRD Form 2728 (for patients on dialysis; dialysis center will have copy)
  • Recent labs from dialysis center or nephrologist's office
  • Copies of Driver's License, Insurance cards and drug coverage cards: front and back
  • Completed Insurance Information sheet (page 4 on application)
  • Pathology reports and treatment records for any patient with a history of cancer
  • Colonoscopy results (ALL patients 50 years and older)
  • Pap Smear results (ALL female patients 18 years and older)

Send In Your Application

Mail or fax your completed application and medical records to:
Florida Hospital Transplant Institute
2415 N. Orange Ave, Suite 700
Orlando, FL 32804
Fax: 407-303-2998

We know waiting isn't easy. But we hope it helps to know that once we receive your application and medical records, your information is in good hands and your well-being is on our minds. Your transplant nurse coordinator will carefully review your application and medical records to ensure you meet the kidney transplant requirements. Once it's approved, we'll forward your records to a financial coordinator for review and approval of insurance and medication coverage. The second we get the green light, we'll be in touch to help you take the next step: Evaluation.

Read About Evaluation
Evaluation

Patient Evaluation: Our Personalized Approach

Our personalized kidney transplant evaluation process is designed to ensure you have a successful kidney transplant and the resources you need for your care. Over the course of several weeks, you and your caregiver will get to know your transplant care team while undergoing a series of medical tests. It's an integrated process that's as much about assessing your physical health as it is your emotional health. Just as important, it's an opportunity for you to share your questions and concerns, introduce us to your caregiver, and talk about what to expect before, during and after your kidney transplant.

Lab and Diagnostic Testing

By this time, every member of your transplant care team will have an intimate knowledge of your medical history. But to make sure your body is ready to undergo a successful kidney transplant procedure, we perform our own series of lab and diagnostic testing on every single patient. Our team will guide patients and caregivers through the following tests in the comfort of our state-of-the-art Orlando facility:

  • Series of blood tests
  • Chest x-ray
  • EKG
  • Abdominal ultrasound (typically scheduled first thing in the morning, since it's performed on an empty stomach)
Your transplant nephrologist will walk you through your test results and any additional test needs during your one-on-one meetings.

 

Meeting Your Transplant Team

Our patients and their caregivers often say their transplant team becomes like a second family. So it’s only natural that the first step is getting to know each specialist on your transplant team. And even though these are one-on-one meetings, your dedicated health team stays closely connected throughout your evaluation process through close communication and innovative technology.

Your Social Worker is here from day one to support your journey and make sure you're mentally and emotionally ready to undergo a kidney transplant. Their questions will be geared toward making sure you and your caregivers are ready to take care of your transplant by following the medical team's recommendations to the T. If they feel you need additional resources, whether it’s housing or financial assistance, they’ll help connect you to the right resources in your community.

Your Dietitian is focused on keeping you as healthy as possible before, during and after surgery. Nutrition plays a critical role before, during and after surgery, so it's essential that you follow your dietitian's meal plan morning, noon and night. They'll help you stay mindful about what you put into your body leading up to kidney transplant surgery and help you understand how certain medications may affect your appetite and/or interact with certain foods and substances. After surgery, your dietician will create a detailed eating guide designed to keep your new transplant working like new.

Your Transplant Nephrologist will review your test results and your medical history in detail, addressing any unanswered questions or concerns. If more tests are necessary, they'll guide you through what needs to happen next. This is also the person that will take care of your medical needs right after surgery and after you go home.

Your Transplant Surgeon and Nurse Practitioner are a team working toward your successful kidney transplant and long-term health. During this meeting, they'll walk you through what to expect before, during and after surgery.

These are meant to be candid conversations with a group of people who are as invested in your health as you are. Bring the questions that keep you up at night. Bring your support person. And bring your fighting spirit.

Patient Review Committee

Once you've met with every person on your transplant team and your test results have been processed, your transplant coordinator will present your case to the Patient Review Committee. Together, they'll review your case to determine your best course of treatment. If your team is confident a transplant is the best option for you, your name will be placed on the national organ waiting list.

Multiple Listings

You're taking charge of your health, and that means you have every right to be evaluated by different transplant centers. Just let us know if you've already been evaluated by another center so we can avoid duplicate testing and move your evaluation along faster. Our team can help obtain these records. Remember that each center evaluates and accepts patients based on their own criteria, and being listed at one center doesn't guarantee that every center will accept you.

 


 

Read About Waiting List
Waiting List

We'll carry the weight of waiting with you.

We know the question that keeps you up at night: "How long will I wait?" We can't answer that question with certainty. But we can tell you that our median wait time is 18 months, less than half the national average. Your transplant coordinator will keep you informed from the moment your name is put on the kidney transplant list, to the second we find the right kidney for you. And during the moments in-between, when you're waiting for the phone to ring, we're here to answer your questions and support you with a listening ear.

How the Kidney Transplant Waiting List Works

The United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) manages the list of everyone across the country waiting for an organ transplant. Once your transplant care coordinator adds you to the kidney transplant list, your information is entered into UNOS' computerized network. Likewise, when an organ procurement organization confirms that a deceased donor kidney is available, the donor's information is entered into the same system. Using the combination of your information and the donor's, the UNOS computer system generates a "match run," a "rank-order list" of candidates. How long you wait depends on various medical and logistical criteria, including:

  • How long you've been waiting
  • How compatible your immune system is with the donor's
  • The kidney's location in relation to the Transplant Institute
  • How well your body is expected to receive the transplant
  • Pediatric status

Kidney Transplant Pre-Education Class

We've seen first-hand that patient education is key to a successful kidney transplant. The more you and your support system know about how to care for yourself before, during and after your transplant, the more likely you are to follow your team's medical recommendations throughout the process. That's why once your name is added to the national organ waiting list, we'll invite you, your family and/or your caregiver to attend a mandatory educational session at our Orlando facility. During this three-hour session, our transplant education team will guide you through each step of the kidney transplant process in detail, from how the waiting list works to what resources are available to you after surgery and recovery. This session also serves as an open forum, and we encourage you and members of your support system to ask any questions you may have.

What Can You Do While You Wait?

Resolve to focus on the things you can control: your day-to-day health and habits. Follow your dietitian's recommendations to the letter. Get in steps when and where you can. Keep up with your routine health screenings, from dental visits to eye exams. And whenever you need to, take a break. Focusing on your whole health is the best way to make sure that when the right kidney becomes available, your mind and body are ready to receive it well.

Be sure to let us know if you have any address, name or insurance changes and let your transplant coordinator know of any illness, surgery or hospitalization. You can also start putting a plan in place for when you do receive the call. More than likely, you'll need to get to the Florida Hospital Transplant Institute in Orlando immediately. Make sure you have a designated driver, established transportation in place and a travel bag packed at all times.

Getting the Call

Your transplant care coordinator will be the first to call you the moment we think we have the right kidney for you. Most patients say it's a moment they'll never forget. Let it sink in. Then make arrangements to come to our Transplant Institute immediately for final evaluation and pre-op. Don't eat, drink or take any medication after you receive the call.

Read About Surgery
Surgery

What To Expect With Kidney Transplant Surgery

Before Surgery

Once you receive the call and you arrive for your kidney transplant, we'll be ready. Your transplant care team will walk you through the entire procedure from start to finish and answer any questions you may have. As with any surgery, there are risks, and your team is here to help you understand any potential complications. We'll ask you to sign a consent form, giving us your permission to perform the transplant.

Depending on your medical condition at the time, your transplant team may take additional steps to get you ready for surgery. For example, if you've been getting dialysis regularly, you'll get dialysis before the surgery. Your transplant nurse will set you up with an IV line to administer medications as needed. You'll also receive your first dose of anti-rejection drugs and antibiotics, which help your body get ready to accept the donor kidney. And if you need a hand to hold, we can do that too.

During Surgery

While you're getting your healthy new kidney, you'll be surrounded by a team of world-renowned kidney transplant specialists that has collectively performed more than 4,000 kidney transplants. They'll monitor every detail, from your heart rate and blood pressure to your blood oxygen level. The details of your surgery may vary depending on your specific condition, but most kidney transplants take approximately two to four hours, under general anesthesia.

After Surgery

This is where the road to recovery and a healthy new life begins. No patient's plan is the same, and how long you stay in the hospital depends on a variety of factors, but most patients stay an average of five days after kidney transplant surgery. You may spend 24 hours in the intensive care unit before you're transferred to the transplant unit for the rest of your hospital stay.

Read About Staying Healthy
Staying Healthy

Life After Kidney Transplant

The path to a kidney transplant is long, but our journey doesn't end with surgery. We'll guide your recovery every step of the way, empowering you with the information, tools and resources you need to care for your new kidney throughout your life’s journey.

Outpatient Institute Visits

Once you're cleared to leave the hospital, your team will continue to help ease your transition to independent living, guiding your kidney transplant recovery every step of the way. You'll leave Florida Hospital armed with detailed instructions, a supply of meds and a list of phone numbers to contact for any questions or emergencies.

We'll be in close, regular contact with you through your nurse coordinator. And since we'll need to see you in our Institute three times a week for three months, our team can help arrange local housing, whether at the Bartch Transplant House (if you meet the requirements) or elsewhere.

Between lab work and one-on-one check-ins with your transplant team, you can expect each Institute visit to last about four hours. After one month, we'll reduce your visits to two times per week, and eventually, to once a week. At the end of the three month period, we'll refer you back to your nephrologist for routine care, and we'll see you back at our transplant Institute every year for your annual visit.

A Healthy Lifestyle

Treating your new kidney with care means treating your body well. Eat smart. Exercise with heart. And never forget the physical, emotional and mental challenges your mind and body have overcome. Your transplant team will create a detailed health and maintenance plan, from diet and exercise recommendations, to how to avoid infection.

Medications

Anti-rejection medications will be part of your daily routine from this day forward. Without them, your body may begin to reject your new kidney. Your transplant team will give you detailed instructions on how and when to take your immunosuppressants and other medications.

Ongoing Education

Throughout the year, our transplant education team hosts individual sessions on a variety of specific topics such as nutrition, keeping your new organ functioning properly, caregiving, etc. All patients and members of their support system are welcome to attend these sessions as part of their organ transplantation journey.

Transplant Support Groups

Sharing your experience with other kidney and organ transplantation patients can be an essential part of the recovery and maintenance process for many patients. We'll connect you to local and national resources online and in your community.

Staying Connected

We're part of your story and you're part of ours. In addition to your annual physician visits to our Institute, we keep our team-patient connections going strong through annual events like our annual Patient and Family Picnic and the GR8 to DON8 race.