On May 27, 2023, MOHAN Foundation organised a masterclass on "Counselling Families for Hand Donation," a workshop in collaboration with the Network and Alliance of Transplant Coordinators (NATCO), for its employees and NATCO members. The workshop was supported by the SBI Foundation and SBI Cards.
Hand transplants are superior to prosthetic hands, especially in the case of bilateral hand amputees. Prosthetic arms can provide some degree of assistance to carry out basic activities, but none of these can substitute a human hand. Even though challenging, the bigger problem for hand transplants, is the lack of families consenting to donate hands of the deceased. Transplant coordinators and health professionals need to be trained distinctly on counselling the families of the brain-dead or deceased for hand donation through various webinars and masterclasses so that people, who are waiting for hand donation for transplants, can be supported in due time.
The objective of the masterclass was to equip participants with counselling skills that would help the families make an informed decision regarding hand donation. Hand transplantations in India and their challenges was another topic that was discussed thoroughly during the session. The participants were also informed about the technicalities of hand transplantation. Dr. Nilesh Kachhadiya, Assistant Professor, Civil Hospital, Surat, was the invited faculty for the session. Through his effective family counselling skills, he had got consent for multiple hand donations.
During the masterclass, Dr. Nilesh explained the following points in detail:
- How to approach the families for hand donation?
- Families who are interested in organ donation, should be counselled separately for hand donation
- Transplant coordinators should have IEC material and show hand recipient’s testimonial videos to the families during the counselling sessions.
- Experience of Civil Hospital, Surat, in performing successful hand transplants
- Physical examination during hand transplant
- How to consult financial coordinators to determine financial and insurance information for hand transplants
- Follow-up care and medications after a hand transplant
The session was very interactive. The participants thoroughly enjoyed the session and asked many questions. To name a few:
- Which hospitals are licenced for hand transplants in India?
- What are the criteria for donor selection for a hand transplant?
- What is the procedure for pledging for organ donation?
- How long does it take for a hand transplant to work on average? How long is the elbow at shoulder level, and how long is the upper limb at shoulder level?
- What are the chances of organ rejection in hand transplants compared to solid organs?
- We have a few requests for limb transplants; two are below the elbow and one is below the knee. Can you suggest a centre where these patients can get hand transplants at a low cost?
- How are the recipients prepared? Is there anything specific or exclusive during the pre-transplant evaluation and waiting phase?
- Is there any special counselling given to a recipient to accept the hands? Are there cases where the patient has not accepted the new hands?
- Do you know about the longest hand transplant recipient?
- What is the cost of a hand transplant? Isn’t it too expensive for lower and middle-class families?
- Is there a gender issue for hand transplants?
- What about confidentiality and ethical issues regarding hand transplants?
- So far, how many hand donations have been performed worldwide and how many in India?
Feedback from the participants:
- Thanks for the detailed information.
- Very informative masterclass
- Thank you, Dr. Nilesh, for the information you shared that helped me understand hand transplantation.
- We didn’t know that the colour of the hand changes over time to match the recipient’s complexion.
- Very different, good, and important session for me. Thanks a lot.
- It was an excellent session.
Close to 52 participants attended the session.