The onset of liver disease may be acute or insidious. That is, it may come on quickly, or gradually. The person may or may not have a diagnosis, much less know what will happen, therefore; the idea that they may be referred for a liver transplant is likely unknown. When the onset is acute, very little or no time may be spent in this stage with movement rapidly into organ failure. At first, performance problems are not usually seen unless individuals have a pre-existing, debilitating condition, independent of liver disease. However, with the experience of “illness,” individuals search for a reason for their symptoms and may become frustrated because they are unable to perform at prior level of competence. Because the symptoms of liver disease are not visible, others, including significant others, family members, friends, and co-workers, may perceive them as complainers or hypochondriacs.
7 Stages of the Liver Transplant Process
Below are the 7 stages of liver transplantation process as experienced by most people. The stages come from my research and are published in the Journal Occupational Therapy in Health Care (P. J. Scott, 2011). These seven stages center on how psychological, physical and physiological factors impact emotional and cognitive functioning and how these factors interact with the attitudes of others. Some of the factors addressed here focus on:
- The impact of liver failure, and the waiting time on you and your relationships with your loved ones;
- Strategies to be pro-active and maintain emotional and physical strength such that you will experience less problems with the transplant process;
- Ways to maintain involvement in valued activities and roles; and
- Finding a comfortable fit between the previously sick you—and the newly transplanted you.
- A couple of comments about the 7 stages of the liver transplantation process:
Everyone experiences these stages differently. Many people go back and forth. For example, you can be listed for a liver transplant and then be removed because your disease status change for the better or worse.s Some people experience fulminate liver failure, which means the liver fails quickly and they receive a transplant before they have time to prepare. I know a young woman who went into labor with twins, and woke up 1500 miles away in a strange hospital with a liver transplant–and no twins –they were back at her home hospital. The process of waiting for, receiving, and recovering from a liver transplant can completely disrupt your life! It is my hope the information here will help you to prepare and handle the challenges that you may face.
Others experience the stages differently. Here are some examples based on the experience of some people I know.
The details about each Stage are linked here: