Your liver transplant team

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Find out who will be a part of your transplant team and their roles in your care throughout the transplant process.

Key points

  • Your transplant team includes a pre-transplant nurse, a nurse practitioner, a gastroenterologist, a transplant doctor, the transplant surgeon, a social worker, a dietitian and an information co-ordinator.
  • Other professionals that may be involved in your care include a child life specialist, a physiotherapist, an occupational therapist, an anaesthetist, a pharmacist, an adolescent medicine specialist, a psychologist or a psychiatrist.

Your transplant team will include many different people, some of whom you must meet during your assessment and some who will spend time getting to know you and your family so they can help you through the transplant process. We explain their roles below to help you understand how they can help you.

Healthcare team

Your transplant team includes:

Other professionals may be involved in helping you at different times, as needed. These include:

Doctors who must meet you during your assessment

Doctor and teen patient


The gastroenterologist is a doctor who specializes in diseases of the stomach, intestines and liver. This person may be the doctor who first tells you that you might need a transplant. The gastroenterologist will provide the special medical care that you need while waiting for your transplant surgery.

Transplant doctor

The transplant doctor is a gastroenterologist with special training in caring for transplant patients. A transplant doctor will see you when your doctor would like an opinion about your need for transplant.

Many transplant doctors work as a team and will follow you from the time you are listed for transplant. They will oversee your medical care after your transplant both in the hospital and at home.

Transplant surgeon

A transplant surgeon (a doctor specially trained to do operations) will also see you while you are being assessed for transplant. The surgeon will perform the liver transplant operation. They will also care for you in the hospital after your transplant surgery.


An anaesthetist is a doctor who specializes in putting you to sleep for your transplant surgery. They will review all your health information and make a plan for the safest way to put you to sleep.

The anaesthetist will also talk to you about how your pain after surgery will be controlled.

Other members of your transplant team

Healthcare professional taking notes


The nurse from the transplant program will spend a lot of time with you during the assessment. The nurse may meet with you alone, meet your parent(s) on their own or meet all of you together.

The nurse will spend some time getting to know what you think about having a transplant and providing you with information about what to expect, both at the time of the surgery and later on when you need to adjust to your new organ and manage your health. The nurse will also discuss with you the goals of having a transplant as well as some of the possible complications.

The transplant program nurse will be your main contact during your transplant journey. This means they will usually be the first person for you to contact if you have any questions or need to reschedule anything. Make sure you know how to contact your transplant nurse. Write their name and phone number in the long or short version of your health journal. They may have an email address too.

Nurse practitioner

The nurse practitioner (NP) is a registered nurse with extra education and training. This person can prescribe medications, order tests and do physical exams. The nurse practitioner might attend to all of your medical needs while you are in hospital and after being discharged.

Social worker

The transplant social worker will spend time getting to know you and your family.

The social worker may talk with you about some of your feelings about having a liver transplant and how it will affect different areas of your life. This may include adjusting to life with a new liver, dealing with school issues, family, friendships and other relationships, accessing resources and preparing for your move to the adult healthcare system.


A dietitian is someone who helps you to follow a healthy diet and maintain a healthy weight.

Your dietitian will ask you about your current diet and how you are growing in general. They will ask you how you manage your current diet and tell you what diet changes you should expect after transplant.

Some medicines you will take after transplant have side effects that you can control with diet. Your dietitian will talk to you about these side effects and what kind of diet and/or vitamin or mineral supplements will minimize them and keep you healthy.

Information co-ordinator or secretary

Every transplant program has someone who does all the administration tasks for the transplant office. This person will usually arrange all your assessment tests and any tests and appointments after your transplant. Contact the information co-ordinator if you have questions about, or want to change, the timing of any tests or other appointments.

Child life specialist

This person is an expert in child and teen development and helps teens to cope with the stress of coming to the hospital. If you want to prepare for your hospital experience or need support during procedures, a child life specialist can help to make things easier.

Child life specialists can also offer activities to help pass the time and ease your recovery from the transplant surgery. They are great people to know!


The physiotherapist helps you with your physical movement after surgery and will give you exercises to do to build up your mobility and strength.

They will assess your level of physical activity, your bone health and the ways that you normally get exercise. They will also talk to you about how you can avoid infection in your chest at the time of transplant and your activity level right after transplant.

They will also work out a plan with you to get you back to an active lifestyle after transplant and link you with a therapist in your community if you have specific needs after you leave hospital.

Occupational therapist

An occupational therapist helps people with day-to-day tasks such as feeding, dressing and bathing themselves. They do not meet with every transplant patient, but if you have special needs, they will meet with you. They will assess how you are coping with normal daily activities before surgery and how things might change at the time of and after your transplant. They will also help to link you with an occupational therapist in your community if you need one.


You might meet with the transplant pharmacist during your assessment. The transplant pharmacist will find out how you manage the medications you are on now. They will also talk to you about the medications you will have to take after transplant along with their side effects and how you can manage them.


You may meet with a psychologist to help you understand your strengths and weaknesses when it comes to your learning and behaviour and how you handle your emotions. After gathering some information about you, the psychologist can recommend different methods and strategies to help you succeed at school and in everyday life.

Last updated: November 30th 2017