Meet Your Child’s Heart Transplant Team

Meet Your Child’s Heart Transplant Team


Children’s healthcare of Atlanta is
committed to bringing you first-class pediatric transplant care we offer a
transplant team where every member is dedicated to your child’s health from
the hospital stay through recovery and for the rest of their life you can count
on our team to provide the information and comfort you need the transplant
surgeon performs the surgery and then closely monitors your child afterwards
the most important thing about a transplant is recognizing that it’s not
a simple one stop cure of everything it’s just a continuation of a lifelong
of dedication of taking medicines and taking care of yourself but the rewards
of that are a normal lifestyle your cardiologist manages patient care before
the transplant and after the surgery he performs routine biopsies to make sure
the new heart is working properly following transplantation the child is
in the intensive care unit and attached to many heart monitors evaluating blood
pressure pressures within the heart itself we do ultrasounds to look at the
heart function and we do routine biopsies what we call surveillance
biopsies to make sure that cellular rejection is not occurring your
transplant coordinator is a registered nurse who especially trained in
pediatric transplantation the heart transplant coordinators are on call 24
hours a day seven days a week and we are the first line call for patients and
Families we encourage them to call and we would rather be woken up in the
middle of the night to receive a call from a worried mother than to find out
two days later that the child is sick requiring a hospital admission perhaps
and they were hesitant to call when the symptoms started two nights ago
undergoing transplantation can be a stressful experience for your child our
child life specialists are here to help ease your child’s fear
and anxieties a Child Life Specialist is a person who helps the patients and
families adjust to being in the hospitals we do that through providing
them with medical preparation for surgeries or any procedures that they’re
having providing for their emotional well-being by explaining diagnoses to
them on a very age-appropriate concrete level using child friendly language
using the medical equipment we do medical teaching using dolls that can
help the child understand what’s going to happen to them prior to it happening
so they can be prepared for it we have seen that children experience much less
anxiety post situation if they have had preparation prior to in addition to that
and help them helping them develop their coping skills your social worker will
help you through the basics of everyday living while your child is undergoing
the transplant providing help with meals lodging transportation and any emergency
matters that may arise I have the pleasure of meeting the families from
the time of diagnosis in the need for transplant and follow them all the way
through the process so we oftentimes start in a crisis situation and try and
stabilize that and move forward through the waiting time for transplant and then
into the the joy and the anxiety of the transplant experience and then aftermath
all the teaching the follow-up so i get to develop long-term relationships with
families coping with heart disease is difficult for both the patient and the
family our psychiatry staff will assess your child your families coping
strategies and your previous experience with illness and stress they’re
available throughout the transplant experience to help you work through any
emotional stress your nutritionist will determine your child’s needs based on
his growth and development pattern and will then develop a healthy eating
plan you can follow at home typically children with heart defects or heart
problems don’t grow very well they have trouble eating and getting enough
calories in because they have increased calorie expenditure and also just
inability to take in enough because of energy levels after heart
transplantation kids often grow better their heart is working better their
energy efficiency is better so they tend to utilize their calories better have
more energy for eating and tend to have catch-up growth once they’ve had some
initial recovery from the transplant at Children’s we understand that major
surgery can cause a financial strain for any family that is why we provide you
with access to a financial counselor during the transplant evaluation the
counselor will review your current insurance policy for how it pertains to
transplants she will also go over other programs that may offer your financial
assistance some families find it helpful to discuss spiritual issues with one of
our Hospital chaplains or to spend some quiet time in our chapel which is open
24 hours a day there’s always an awareness that this is a gift and it
geologically may be framed in terms of grace there is a real sense of
responsibility for the organ and the life that was given up so that their
child could have life and a real struggle sometimes spiritually and
religiously to make sense out of that loss and death so that their child might
have life but as a metaphor heart carry so much significance for us and to be
able to be present and to support that insight and awareness that it’s not just
a muscle it has much more to do with meaning of life and the values that the
family and the child live out through the experience
children’s supports each family through every aspect of the transplantation
experience providing guidance and answers when you met them most

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