Caring for a Child After a Kidney Transplant

March 20, 2020
Janelle Thomas MSN, RN
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Having a child who needs to undergo surgery is an overwhelming — and often heartbreaking — experience. You want to do everything under the sun to protect your little one. Make them comfortable, ensure their health, and provide the best care possible. So, once they come out of that operating room, you want to know about every single home care detail. Learning about how to provide care and enlisting other family members — or a home health caregiver — to help will make the transition a lot easier for you and your child.

Home Care Tips for Taking Care of a Child After a Kidney Transplant

1. Become Familiar with all Medications

Your child’s doctor will prescribe immunosuppressant medications to help prevent infections. Know the exact times and dosages required for your child, as well as whether they need to be consumed with food. Do not give your child any over-the-counter drugs unless previously approved by their doctor.

2. Spot Clean the Site of the Incision

Skip showers and baths and opt for sponge baths while the wound heals. Gently wash the area with soap and water, but don’t scrub. Let it air dry or pat it dry with a clean towel before reapplying the dressing. Inspect it every day to see if there are any signs of infection — such as redness, excessive bleeding, an unpleasant odor, or pus.

3. Learn About Nutrition

Good eating habits will help prevent post-operative complications. Blood sugar and cholesterol levels can increase after a kidney transplant. Therefore, limit sodas, juice, candy, and desserts — and do not add sugars to foods or drinks. By the same token, cut down on red meats, fried foods, full-fat dairy products, and junk food. Opt for foods high in fiber, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes. If the child is taking prednisone, they will need more calcium.

4. Limit Contact with Visitors

Don’t allow people who are sick to come near your child. Since it’s sometimes impossible to tell whether someone has been infected with a cold or virus, limit the number of visitors to those who are essential for caregiving — and frequently wash your hands and/or use antimicrobial gel, especially during cold and flu season.

5. Limit Physical Activity

Limit physical activities until the incision site is fully healed. This includes sports, exercise, and even playing with friends or siblings. Follow your doctor’s instructions about gradually increasing physical activity. A physical therapist may join the post-operative team to help your child get back to their previous activity/sports preferences.

6. Learn How to Prepare a Dialysis Bag

Be aware that some children may need to go on dialysis temporarily. This doesn’t mean that the transplant has failed. It may just take their bodies a little longer to get the new transplant working — especially if it was received from a deceased donor.

7. Find a Support Group

If your child is a teenager, it’s possible they will experience mood swings, acne, weight gain, and sleeping difficulties. The teenage years are hard enough without these extra stressors. Finding a group of peers who have overcome similar challenges will help them cope.

Warning Signs of Complications from a Kidney Transplant in a Child

Your child’s immune system may not recognize the cells from the new kidney and attack it. Learning how to recognize signs of rejection is crucial for your child’s wellbeing. If you notice any of the symptoms below, call a doctor immediately:

  • Pain at the site of the incision
  • Body aches
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Nausea
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Swelling of the child’s body

Contact Care Options for Kids for Home Health Care in Florida

It can be hard to balance your time between work, home, and caring for a child who has had a kidney transplant. Homecare providers offer the support you or your loved one needs.

If you are considering pediatric home health care services in Florida, contact the caring staff at Care Options for Kids. Call today at (888) 592-5855.