BELTON — Transplant Recipients International Organization is committed to improving the quality of life of transplant candidates, recipients, their families and the families of organ and tissue donors.
TRIO Central Texas serves as a patient advocate for all transplant programs and isn’t associated with the Scott & White transplant programs, but does support a lot of its patients.
Locally, one of the biggest needs is housing for post-transplant patients, said Amanda Raye Jones, president of TRIO Central Texas and a Scott & White social worker.
The typical heart transplant patient is expected to live in the vicinity of the transplant center for at least three months after being discharged from the hospital.
“There are a few organizations that help, but if we’re going to be in the business of doing transplants on a regular basis we need the resources to match,” she said.
As a new chapter, one of the biggest goals for TRIO Central Texas is to increase membership to 100 by the end of the year.
“We need more people to buy in to the cause,” Jones said.
Members are vital in establishing a transplant family house in Temple.
Many of the transplant centers have houses, similar to a Ronald McDonald House, where families of pediatric patients can stay affordably.
Nora’s Home in Houston supports transplant patients and their families served by transplant programs within Texas Medical Center.
Twice Blessed Home in Dallas and Fort Worth provides affordable housing to Baylor Health Care System transplant patients and their caregivers.
The programming at the Houston facility is conducive to the occupants’ developing peer support systems, Jones said.
“Right now, we’ve been small enough to provide Band-Aid patches on people’s situations,” she said. “We want the transplant program to be available to anyone who qualifies medically and this social piece is lagging behind.”
Patients in the transplant program are increasingly coming from areas that are farther away, particularly West Texas.
Scott & White donated an RV spot on its campus if the group can come up with a motor home. It doesn’t even have to be drivable, Jones said.
The kidney transplant program alone could keep an RV occupied full time, she said.
“We’re making progress,” Jones said.
On Wednesday, Jones, John Henderson, representing transplant donor families, and another board member visited Nora’s Home.
Henderson said it was a helpful meeting face to face with Nora’s Home personnel.
“Houston has a lot more resources,” he said. “We learned a lot and made some connections that we’ll be able to use.”
“It’s clear what needs to happen; it’s just not clear what realistically can happen here,” Henderson said.
For information on the local TRIO chapter, call Jones at 254-724-4644.