Transplantation Psychiatry

Transplantation psychiatry is a special setting for consultation-liaison psychiatrists. Mainly, they work in organ transplant centers. The democratization of health care over many years, along with the relative scarcity of transplantation psychiatrists, has led to many other professionals conducting the psychosocial assessments for evaluating organ transplant candidates.

It’s a complicated field with many stakeholders. The scarcity of organs often leads to great anxiety in patients and their supporters. Anxiety can complicate the assessment phase, the waiting phase, and the post-transplant phase as well.

The most frequent question that consultees from the transplant team ask is whether the candidate is a good risk for receiving an organ that is in short supply, which therefore must be allocated carefully, and of which the candidate must be prepared to be a good steward. Psychosocial screening is a feature of most transplant programs. Rather than seeing one’s self as a gatekeeper, most experts agree that the most useful part of the psychosocial screening process is to identify psychosocial factors that would interfere with the candidate’s successful adaptation to life posttransplant, and to develop a plan for managing them using available resources.

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