National Kidney Foundation Develops Transplant Recipients' Bill of Rights and Responsibilities

New York, NY
July 25, 2001

Their concerns haven't occupied center stage in the national debate on the Patient Bill of Rights, yet transplant recipients face a unique set of health care challenges. Their needs will now be addressed in the Transplant Recipients' Bill of Rights and Responsibilities, the result of three years of work spearheaded by NKF's transAction Council in collaboration with 10 transplant organizations, including United Network for Organ Sharing and the American Society of Transplantation.

Following the concept of the American Medical Association Patients' Bill of Rights, the Transplant Recipients' Bill of Rights and Responsibilities outlines issues related to maintaining physical and mental health post-transplant. The rights to quality care, respect and emotional support and the responsibility of providing accurate medical information are covered in this document. More specifically, the document states that recipients have the right to have their correspondence forwarded to the family of the deceased donor and the responsibility to know, identify and report any signs of organ rejection.

According to Nancy Swick, RN, transAction Council chairman and transplant coordinator at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital in Santa Rosa, CA,"The transAction Council saw the need for this document to ensure the uniformity of care among all transplant recipients as well as to help patients understand their unique rights and responsibilities. We hope that the Transplant Recipients' Bill of Rights and Responsibilities will help empower recipients to take an active role in maintaining their health and working with the health care team to receive the care they deserve." The Transplant Recipients' Bill of Rights and Responsibilities was published in poster and booklet form for distribution to transplant centers and patients.

The TransAction Council is committed to actively meeting the unique needs and concerns of individuals with all types of organ transplants. The Council holds educational and support programs for transplant recipients, advocates for recipients' rights and issues and works to increase organ donation awareness.

The National Kidney Foundation is the nation's leading voluntary health agency dedicated to preventing kidney and urinary tract diseases, improving the health and well-being of those affected by these diseases, and increasing the availability of all organs for transplantation. For more information about the Transplant Recipients' Bill of Rights and Responsibilities or to receive a copy, contact the NKF at (800) 622-9010.