Living donors' experiences 1 wk after donating a kidney


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Abstract

In Norway living kidney donors account for approximately 40% of all renal transplants. There is a shortage of information about how living kidney donors experience the donation process during the initial recovery from surgery. The aim of this study was to explore physical and psychosocial issues related to the experiences of living kidney donors 1 wk after open donor nephrectomy. A total of 12 living kidney donors participated in the study. Data were collected by individual in-depth interviews and analysed using empirical phenomenological method. Being a living kidney donor is a complex experience. The informants expressed strong feelings of responsibility and obligation concerning the recipients and had a positive attitude towards the donation. On the other hand, the donors experienced it strange to be a fit individual and go through a major operation. Several of the donors reported that it was painful to go through donor surgery and regarded the recovery period as troublesome. Some donors also reported the double role of being both a patient and a relative to be a stressful experience. This study reveals the importance of being aware of the complex situation of living kidney donors. Health professionals need to understand the nature of the donation process and the donors' needs. It is essential to focus on physical, mental and interpersonal factors when counselling potential living kidney donors.

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