for Veterans and the Public
Your Support Person
One of the most important parts of your transplant team is your support person(s). You may have more than one support person. This may be a spouse, parent, close friend, other family member, or some combination of these individuals. This person's job is to help you during the evaluation process and during the critical period of time before and after your surgery when you will be unable to care for yourself.
Who you choose to be your support person is probably the most important decision you will make if you are going to have a liver transplant. They need to be able to provide you with mental and emotional support as well as physical help during the process. This help is crucial for your evaluation, transplantation, and recovery.
Your personal support person will need to be available at all times from the time you are evaluated until about 2 years post-transplant. These are some of the specific duties your support person will have to agree to:
- Go with you to the pretransplant evaluation and followup appointments (unless other arrangements are made)
- Assist you with transport to the hospital when called in for transplant (unless other arrangements have been made with the pre-transplant coordinator)
- Attend discharge teaching with the transplant coordinator and learn the information in the discharge teaching manual to help you with your selfcare after the operation
- Help you for 24 hours a day for approximately 3 months after your discharge from the hospital after transplant
- Learn your medications and assume responsibility for monitoring the correct administration of medications during the early post-discharge period
- Arrange for safe housing for you upon your discharge from the hospital
- Transport you (or arrange for safe transport) to all clinic, lab, or other appointments
As you can see, your support person will play a major role during this process. We cannot stress enough how vital it is to have this personal help. Without a support person, you will not qualify for a transplant.