Rehabilitation and transition after lung transplantation in children

Transplant Proc. Jan-Feb 2009;41(1):296-9. doi: 10.1016/j.transproceed.2008.10.047.


We describe the key components of an outpatient pediatric recovery and rehabilitation program set up within the adult lung transplant service at the Alfred Hospital, Melbourne. Following discharge, pediatric lung transplant recipients and their families participated in an intensive 3-month outpatient rehabilitation program. Weekly sessions included education regarding transplant issues, physiotherapy, and occupational therapy sessions. The overall aim of the program was to comprehensively address physical rehabilitation and psychosocial and educational needs. Sessions tailored to meet the individual needs of the child were presented at an appropriate cognitive level. Education sessions for both the children and parents focused on medications, identification of infection and rejection, nutrition, physiotherapy/rehabilitation, occupational roles and stress management, donor issues, psychosocial readjustment, and transition issues. Physiotherapy included a progressive aerobic and strength training program, postural reeducation, and core stability. We incorporate Age-appropriate play activities: running, dancing, jumping, ball skills, and so on. Occupational therapy sessions addressed the primary roles of patient, students, and player. Transitions such as returning to school, friends, and the community were explored. Issues discussed included adjustment to new health status, strategies to manage side effects of medications, and altered body image issues. Weekly multidisciplinary team meetings were used to discuss and plan the rehabilitation progress. School liaison and visits occurred prior to school commencement with follow-up offered to review the ongoing transition process. Both patients and parents have reported a high level of satisfaction with the rehabilitation program. We plan to formally evaluate the program in the future.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Child
  • Cystic Fibrosis / surgery
  • Feedback
  • Humans
  • Lung Transplantation / psychology
  • Lung Transplantation / rehabilitation*
  • Parents / education*
  • Patient Care Team
  • Patient Education as Topic*
  • Perception
  • Play and Playthings
  • Postoperative Complications / classification
  • Postoperative Complications / prevention & control
  • Posture
  • Power, Psychological
  • Reinforcement, Psychology
  • Self Concept