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The Benefits of Staying Close to Home When Donating a Kidney

Taira Foster, Donor Search Expert Coach, Double Living Donor

As part of the kidney donation process, living kidney donors can choose the transplant center where they would like to have their medical testing and donation surgery. When you are choosing a center, it’s worth considering choosing one close to home.

To enable donors to donate close to home, the National Kidney Registry offers remote donation at more than 100 transplant centers in 36 states nationwide. To choose a center close to home, simply register as a donor through the NKR and then select a center that participates in the remote donation network. Click here for a map of all remote donation centers.

There are several reasons kidney donors should consider choosing a transplant center close to home:

Support from Family and Friends: Family and friends play a crucial role in the recovery process, providing emotional support, assistance with daily activities, and a sense of comfort during a potentially challenging time. Having the surgery close to home makes it easier for family and friends to help care for you after surgery.

Reduced Travel and Logistics: Choosing a local transplant center for your kidney donation can significantly reduce the logistical challenges associated with long-distance travel. From pre-operative assessments to postoperative follow-ups, having medical facilities nearby streamlines the entire process. This can result in a smoother experience for both the donor and the medical team.

Improved Communication: Being close to home, and therefore in the same time zone, also facilitates communication between the donor and the medical team. When donors want to consult the transplant team about a concern or ask a question about the donation process, being nearby makes communication easier.

Easier Recovery: Living kidney donors must refrain from flying for a week after the surgery. Even driving can be an issue, because long road trips can be uncomfortable immediately after the surgery. When you donate close to home, you can recover in familiar surroundings without unnecessary travel.

Enhanced Follow-up Care: Being close to the transplant center ensures that donors have easy access to postoperative care and follow-up appointments to monitor their health and ensure a smooth recovery. In addition, while transplant centers typically offer a wide variety of supplemental health support that donors can access after the donation surgery, in some cases, healthcare professionals, such as dieticians and nutritionists, must be licensed in the state where they provide advice.

Insurance & Prescriptions: If your transplant team prescribes any medications for post-surgery care, it’s important to note that the prescribing doctor must be licensed in the state where the prescription is picked up. This could cause issues if your transplant center is in a different state from your regular pharmacy. There also might be issues with insurance if there are any medical expenses charged in a state other than the one in which the transplant center is located.

Positive Community Impact: Choosing to donate a kidney close to home can have a positive impact on the local community. Donors can tap into their local support system, garnering support in their donation journey and helping raise awareness about living kidney donation.

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