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Psychosocial assessment prior to pediatric transplantation: A review and summary of key considerations


Rachel A. Annunziato, Fordham University, Department of Psychology, 441 East Fordham Road, Bronx, NY 10458, USA
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Annunziato RA, Fisher MK, Jerson B, Bochkanova A, Shaw RJ. Psychosocial assessment prior to pediatric transplantation: A review and summary of key considerations.
Pediatr Transplantation 2010: 14: 565–574. © 2010 John Wiley & Sons A/S.

Abstract:  Prior to listing for transplantation, patients participate in a comprehensive, multidisciplinary evaluation. One component of this process, incorporated by the vast majority of transplant centers, is a psychosocial assessment conducted by a mental health professional. The primary objectives of a pre-transplant psychosocial assessment are to identify risk factors for difficulty adjusting post-transplant as well as behaviors that may compromise transplantation outcomes. This paper aims to provide a summary of key considerations for pediatric transplant teams describing what this assessment might include, when it should be performed, training requirements for the evaluators, how results of the evaluation might best be utilized and suggestions for optimal patient preparation. Our findings suggest that the evaluation, which can be conducted by a variety of professionals, should include assessment of patient knowledge and motivation for transplant, mental health and substance abuse history, presence or absence of family and social support, availability of financial resources, past history of treatment adherence, and the quality of the family’s relationship with the transplant team. Repeat assessments and utilizing the initial evaluation for outcome assessment should be considered. Finally, the evaluation offers a unique opportunity for better preparing patients and families for transplantation.