School re-entry of the pediatric heart transplant recipient

Pediatr Transplant. 2006 Dec;10(8):928-33. doi: 10.1111/j.1399-3046.2006.00586.x.


Pediatric cardiac transplant has become increasingly frequent in the last decade and survival rates have improved remarkably. Outcome research on this population suggests that the majority of children have the capacity for healthy adaptation although 25-40% have been shown to have some type of psychiatric difficulties. As school plays a major role in these children's lives, early intervention and close liaison with schools is indicated to reduce psychological morbidity, enhance adaptation within the school environment and enhance overall adjustment. This paper proposes a model for a school re-entry program for this population. The school re-entry program is aimed at children who are undergoing cardiac transplant and will be entering or re-entering the school system. They may range in academic age from preschool to college level and have been attending private or public schools with placements in regular education programs, regular education programs with resource support, special education programs, and alternative school programs. Others may not have been attending school because of the severity of their medical condition and have been receiving in-home tutoring. Each child is offered school re-entry assistance by a multi-disciplinary team composed of members from the Cardiology Transplant Service. The re-entry program includes cognitive and psychosocial assessment, liaison with the child's school pre- and post-transplant, academic planning and provision of academic, emotional, and behavioral support before, during, and immediately after transplant, a school re-entry visit, and an ongoing school consultation. The goal is to address issues necessary for a successful school re-entry including appropriate academic placement and support, psychosocial adjustment, education of school personnel and ongoing health needs of the student. The next step is to formally evaluate the efficacy of this program in successful school re-entry.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Heart Transplantation / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Interdisciplinary Communication*
  • Life Change Events
  • Male
  • Models, Educational
  • Needs Assessment
  • Patient Care Planning*
  • Postoperative Care
  • Program Development*
  • Psychology, Medical
  • Schools*
  • Students / psychology*