Transplant patients must have a support person to help them monitor their health, attend followup appointments and take all medications. Persons with alcohol use disorder may not have someone to fill that role. We are searching to creative solutions where a support person is not available.
Trillium Gift of Life Network has a fund to assist with living expenses in Toronto or London post transplant until patients can go home. We seek to establish a fund that will assist with expenses this fund does not cover.
The survival rate of people transplanted because of alcohol use disorder starts to drop below average after about 7 years. The cause of death is usually from cancer or cardiovascular disease related to tobacco use. We plan to offer support, if needed, to attend critical followup appointments.
Alcohol free is an obvious requirement for recovery from alcohol-associated liver disease. But, it applies to everyone in the house. If a partner or roommate has an alcohol use disorder or is a heavy drinker, the person in recovery may not be considered for transplant.
Family relationships often suffer when there is an alcohol use disorder in the household. Healthy, supportive relationships are important as people begin to heal from their surgery and their alcohol use disorder. We search for creative ways to support family bonds by providing access to activities that are otherwise not possible.
Our circle of friends often determines our social activities. After their liver transplant, people with alcohol use disorder are likely to avoid weekend BBQs and parties with alcohol. They may need ideas or opportunities to make new friends or find new social activities.
Areas Where We Work
People with liver failure caused by alcohol use disorder should understand their disease: what functions their liver performs; how the food they eat and the alcohol they drink affects its function; how liver cirrhosis can progress; and, where they can learn more. We try to provide reliable information.
A stable home is not always a given when someone has lived with alcohol use disorder for an extended period of time. Affordable housing is always a problem. We are working to find solutions for people who may not be considered for transplant without a home to return to.
A healthy diet is important for everyone. It is even more important for people with liver disease. We have a vision of nutrition and cooking classes that will assist people in creating meal plans that align with their food preferences while supporting liver health.
We believe many people will fit seamlessly into their new life. Others may feel challenged by the change. We hope to connect with people as they recover, to see what new hobbies, activities or events they would be interested in pursuing.
People living with alcohol use disorder and subsequent liver failure may no longer have reliable employment. As they recover, they may take time to be able to work full-time. We are working to find opportunities with employers who understand these challenges.
As our Mission states, we work to reshape public perception, encourage best medicine and give a hand up. You will find information on how we are changing public perception and encouraging best medicine in our Resources pages. We will use these pages to share news about our work.
In the boxes below, hover over the photos to read about our plans to offer services at no charge that will help to mitigate barriers to the transplant list caused by the lack of social conditions.
In late summer 2018, Trillium Gift of Life Network is planning to assess patients with liver failure caused by alcohol use disorder without any alcohol free period for the first time in the history of liver transplantation in Canada. The assessment will look at the patient's medical condition. It will also take into account several psychosocial factors, which could include social conditions.
Before the program launches, we will be working to see which conditions we can assist with, to improve waitlist opportunities. The boxes below talk about some of the areas we are expecting they will look for, and some that may help people post transplant find new ways to enjoy life.