Despite understanding the importance of post-transplant nephrology visits, kidney recipients skipped appointments because they wanted independence from doctors; believed they could manage their bodies; and faced numerous post-transplant physical and emotional challenges, according to this study.
Previous research has shown that skipping nephrology visits after a kidney transplant is associated with increased risk of graft failure; and that patients who are of an ethnic minority, have a lower median household income or are living within 10 miles of a transplant center are less likely to attend all their visits. Thirty-nine patients of one Upper Midwest transplant center who were at least one year post-transplant and had at least one of these risk factors were either interviewed or participated in a focus group to explore why they skipped nephrology visits. This is believed to be the first study to examine the beliefs and perceptions regarding nephrology visits of kidney transplant recipients.
Recipients reflected that they were probably not prepared for the emotional and physical ups and downs in post-transplant life. Researchers suggest peer-to-peer networking and counseling could help recipients feel better about themselves and motivate them to take control of their care and attend appointments.