Overcoming emotional barriers to accepting a living donor transplant

Emotional barriers to transplantation

As the saying goes, receiving is harder than giving.

It’s a phenomenon Susan Rees has witnessed firsthand. As the chief clinical officer of Rejuvenate Kidney Transplant Solutions, she helps people navigate the complex path to a lifesaving kidney transplant.

Rees says many people with chronic kidney disease face emotional barriers to accepting an organ from a living donor, especially from a family member such as a parent, child, brother or sister.

“They question what if something happens to their loved one,” says Rees. “So, I go through all the risks and benefits, starting with the fact that a living donor has a less than 1% chance of something bad happening to them. The rate of dying on dialysis is much higher.”

While there are risks involved in any major surgery, living organ donors are typically out of the hospital in one to three nights and are back to normal activity in as little as six weeks.

Prior to surgery, living donors undergo a comprehensive physical and psychological health evaluation. Once their kidney is removed, the remaining kidney will increase in size to compensate for the loss of the donated one.

There is no change in life expectancy for those who donate a kidney, and most lead normal lives post-surgery.

“I know police officers who have returned to duty,” says Rees. “People are running, exercising and doing all the activities they enjoy.”

Additionally, living donors generally look back on their experience as a positive one. Various studies report as high as 97% of living donors would make the same decision, again, if given the choice.

“We understand that you don’t want anything to happen to your son or daughter,” says Rees. “But guess what – they don’t want anything to happen to you.”

Rees and her team at Rejuvenate Kidney Transplant Solutions can help patients through each step of the transplant process, answering questions as they arise. They understand the complexities involved with kidney disease and are here to act as a guide.

“It’s not all about kidneys; It’s about life,” says Rees. “What we’re trying to do is restore you back living life to its full potential.”

Whether you are a benefits manager or someone living with kidney disease, know that Rejuvenate has helped thousands of people overcome barriers to transplantation, even when those barriers go beyond cost and access to care. Their mission is to expedite transplants and avoid dialysis, which improves quality of life. If you’re struggling with this disease, don’t wait until you are in kidney failure to address your concerns.

If you are a benefits manager tasked with helping employees, schedule a needs analysis to understand how Rejuvenate can help.