Caring for Organ Donors and Recipients: Essay

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Caring for Organ Donors and Recipients: Electronic Resources for Case Managers Justin Blakeman When working with critically ill patients, case managers must address a wide variety of needs regarding care during hospitalization, discharge planning, outpatient follow-up or rehabilitation placement, and coordination with family. Often, however, the care of the critical patient does not include planning for the future in these ways, but rather planning care around the patient’s imminent death, and the disposition of organs and tissues in the event the patient has elected organ donation. When participating in the care of a donor patient, the case manager must be sensitive not only to the medical and psychosocial needs of the patient, but also to those of family and friends, and to staff as well. In the same vein, the case manager also plays an important role in the care of a patient awaiting organ or tissue transplantation as this population carries with it its own care needs, and the concerns of family, friends, and staff often factor in to the plan of care. In both instances, there are resources available to the case manager which will assist him/her in navigating this very specific, and very special, patient population. Much consideration goes into the care of patients awaiting organ transplant. These patients commonly suffer from a plethora of comorbidities that must be managed and held under control in order for the patient to remain an eligible recipient. For instance, in the patient awaiting a liver transplant for acute liver failure, abnormalities in coagulation, factor synthesis, and electrolytes must be closely monitored (Care of the Transplant Patient, 2008). These patients are additionally at risk for sepsis and neurological issues, as well as for infection pre- and post-operatively (Care of the Transplant Patient, 2008). The

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