Important Questions to Ask
You and your family will surely have a lot of questions—before, during and after your transplant surgery. Every step of the way, your Transplant Coordinator will be available by telephone to answer any questions—and there is no such thing as a "silly" or "dumb" question. Please feel free to ask any questions, at any time, for any reason. We are here to help you.
Following are some sample questions that you should ask regarding Kidney Transplantation. You’ll probably have others. Again, please feel free to ask any questions, at any time, for any reason.
Questions to Ask Your Transplant Team
- What are my choices other than transplantation?
- What are the benefits and risks of transplantation?
- What does the evaluation process include?
- Is a living donor transplant an option in my case? If so, where will the living donor evaluation be done? What is the process for a living donation?
- How does the evaluation affect whether or not I am put on the waiting list?
- How will I know I am definitely on the waiting list?
- How long do most patients with my blood type wait at this hospital?
- How long has this hospital been doing my type of transplant?
- How many of these types of transplants does this hospital or surgeon perform each year compared to others?
- What are the organ and patient survival rates for my type of transplant at this hospital and how does that compare to other hospitals?
- How does this medical team decide whether or not to accept a particular organ for a patient?
- Who are the members of the transplant team and what are their jobs?
- How many surgeons at this hospital are available to do my type of transplant?
- Who will tell me about the transplant process?
- Is there a special nursing unit for transplant patients?
- Will I be asked to take part in research studies?
- Can I tour the transplant center?
- Do you have or know of any support groups for patients or families?
- Specifically for living kidney donors: Does this surgeon use laparoscopic surgery and who can explain that procedure to me? What are the advantages and disadvantages?
Questions to Ask Your Financial Coordinator
- How much of the transplant cost is covered by my insurance and what specifically is covered?
- Who will pay for my living donor's testing and surgery?
- How much are the organ recovery costs if I have a living donor?
- What financial coverage is accepted by the hospital? Do you participate in a “managed care” contract or a “centers of excellence” network with my insurer?
- Medicare: Is your program Medicare-approved for the type of transplant I need?
- Who can I contact if I have questions or problems?
- What is your average cost for a pre-transplant evaluation? For my type of transplant? For follow-up care?
- How much will I have to pay in addition to my insurance?
- What happens if my financial coverage runs out?
- When can I expect to be billed? What kinds of payment options do I have?
- Do you know of any local organizations that can assist us with transportation or lodging?
Questions to Ask Your Insurance Company
- Is transplant a 'coveted service' under my policy?
- Do you require pre-authorization for a transplant or any pre-transplant treatment? Do I need to supply any information?
- Do I need a second opinion? If so, who will pay for it?
- Is there a waiting period for coverage? If so, how long is it? Am I currently in the waiting period?
- Do you have a maximum amount or “cap” on my coverage? Can this time limit be extended?
- What percentage of costs are paid by my policy? Does it vary by the type of service provided (e.g. - surgery, tests, prescriptions)?
- Are there any deductibles or co-payments? What is my total "our of pocket" per year?
- Are there separate deductibles or co-payments for prescriptions, physician/professional services or surgery? If so, what are they?
- Will you pay for my medications after the transplant? Is there any time limit on coverage of my medications? Are prescription medications included in the maximum? What else is included in the maximum?
- Do I need to notify you when I am admitted to the hospital? How soon after I am admitted?
Questions about Prescription Drug Assistance to Ask Your Social Worker
- Am I eligible for your program?
- Do I need to be referred by my Transplant Team?
- How long does it take to get set up with your program?
- How do I receive the drugs?
- How long am I eligible for your program?
Post Transplant Questions to Ask Your Transplant Team
- What is each of my medicines for?
- What are the side effects of the medicines I will be taking?
- Which side effects should I call about? Who should I call?
- What should I do if I miss a dose of medicine?
- Who should I call when I need a new prescription?
- Are generic drugs OK?
- Which drugs should I take with food?
- Which drugs should I take on an empty stomach? How soon can I eat after taking them?
- When should I take each of my medications? (Some drugs should be taken 12 hours apart.)
- Does it matter what time of day I take my once-a-day medications?
- Should I take antibiotics before and after dental visits? For any other procedures?
- Which over-the-counter medicines should I avoid (e.g. Ibuprofen, Motrin)?
- What vaccines should I get every year (e.g. flu, hepatitis, tetanus)?
- Can I take aspirin, calcium, vitamins and mineral supplements? How much?
- Should I avoid children who have had a vaccine? Which vaccines? For how long?
- Is it OK for me to have an alcoholic beverage? If so, what kind? How much? How often?
- When should I come back for checkups?
- How do I monitor my health at home?
- What are the warning signs of rejection and infection? Who should I call?
Questions to Ask Your Pharmacist
- Is someone available 24-hours a day if I have questions or need to reorder my drugs?
- Will you waive my co-pay?
- Do you offer a discount if I pay with a credit card or check? What if I have no insurance coverage?
- Do you charge for delivery?
- How soon after I call in my prescription will my medications be available?
- Do you always keep my medications in stock?
- Do you have any educational materials you can send me?
Questions to Ask About Post-Transplant Lab Tests
- What tests will I be taking and how often will I have to return to the hospital for these tests?
- Are you permitted to eat or drink before your blood is drawn?
- If not, how many hours before the test should I stop eating or drinking?
- After I take a particular medicine, how much time must pass before I have blood drawn to measure the level of that drug?