After the potential recipient has been approved for an on-site visit, an appointment for an on-site visit will be made for the veteran by the VA Iowa City Health Care System Transplant Nurse Coordinator.
What happens during an on-site visit?
During the three to five day visit, the members of the Transplant Team, including the Transplant Coordinator, the Transplant Surgeon, the Transplant Nephrologist, and the Transplant Social Worker will schedule the veteran and the potential donor (if applicable) for further in-depth evaluations, including tissue typing and baseline labs. The veteran, the donor (if applicable), and the support person(s) receive a program orientation and a tour of the VA Iowa City Health Care System Medical Center facilities.
Who goes with me on the on-site visit?
The veteran and his/her designated support person travel to the VA Iowa City Health Care System Medical Center in Iowa City, Iowa. The referring VAMC provides round-trip transportation and the VA Central Office provides lodging for the veteran and one designated support person. If a living donor is under consideration, the potential donor and the donor's designated support person also will have their round-trip transportation and lodging provided by the referring VA facility and the VA Central Office, respectively. Meals are not provided.
Who is a support person?
The support person may be a friend or relative 18 years of age or older. The support person is expected to go to the VA Iowa City Health Care System Medical Center with the patient for the on-site evaluation and later for the transplant surgery. The support person provides post-transplant support, accompanies the patient to follow-up appointments, assists with medications, ensures compliance, and offers general assistance. Having a support person is a requirement of the VA transplant program.
How will my dialysis needs be met during the on-site visit?
If you require dialysis during your on-site visit, the Transplant Nurse Coordinator will make any necessary arrangements in coordination with your local dialysis unit.
What happens after all of the tests and evaluations are completed?
The results of the on-site visit will be formally presented to the combined VAICHCS/University of Iowa Transplant Team. The team decides if the veteran:
- needs to meet additional requirements prior to approval
- is not a candidate for transplant surgery
- is a candidate for transplantation
The team's decision is forwarded to the referring VA which will notify the veteran of the decision. If the veteran is determined to be a candidate for transplantation and there is no suitable donor, the veteran's name will be placed on the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) waiting list. If there is an identified donor, transplant surgery will be scheduled. If the veteran is not a candidate for transplantation, then renal care will continue through the veteran's primary VAMC.