Ascension Saint Thomas launches kidney transplant wellness program

Ascension Saint Thomas recently announced the start of a new kidney transplant wellness program.
Updated: Mar. 16, 2023 at 6:15 PM CDT
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - Ascension Saint Thomas recently announced the start of a new kidney transplant wellness program not only helping patients recover but also making an impact on their health long term.

The new program is the first of its kind at Ascension Saint Thomas West.

“There are other rehab programs for patients who have been through heart transplants and lung transplants, but there is really nothing for Kidney transplants,” said Karen Dyer, exercise physiologist.

The purpose is to educate kidney transplant patients on ways to stay healthy after surgery, especially since studies show the life expectancy of a transplanted kidney is less than two decades.

“A lot of people think that kidney transplants are easier. But actually it is not. You have a lot of lifestyle issues that lead up to the kidney transplant that can be helped with exercise and diet interventions,” explained Dyer.

The program began in September. Since then, nine patients have successfully graduated.

“When I was first diagnosed, I was self employed my whole life and I was always that tough guy saying that it is no big deal. We are not feeling good today. It will pass. Then I started having issues where I couldn’t go to the bathroom correctly. I couldn’t do things,” stated Tom Kosinski.

Kosinski was the first patient in the program.

“It was tough to walk. Now when I am here I am lifting a lot more weight. I am doing a lot more cardio. They are working on strengthening my abdomen,” explained Kosinski.

With March being National Kidney Month, they are hoping to be a recourse for future patients.

“They have been through a lot leading up to their transplant. Once they get done with that transplant they deserve to have the best shot at the best life they can possibly have,” said Dyer.