The New Zealand Liver Transplant Unit provides a social work service, which includes assessment, information, assistance and support:

  •   to patients, their family/whanau and caregivers/support people
  •   pre-transplant, immediate post-transplant, post-discharge from hospital and outpatients' clinic

This service covers the following areas:


Patient's social history, previous coping capacity, underlying psycho-social issues, ability to cope with current crisis, immediate and long term support required.

Counselling for

  •  Trauma

  •  Grief and loss

  •  Stress

  •  Adjusting to hospitalisation

  •  Family relationships

  •  Uncertain and catastrophic diagnoses

  •  Decision making

The aim of counselling is to elicit immediate coping strategies, develop strategies for long term resolution, manage the immediate responses to crisis and reduce the impact of trauma.

Preparing and planning for discharge from hospital

Discharge planning involves co-ordinating a plan with members of the multidisciplinary team, making appropriate community referrals and following through after discharge.

Referral to other agencies and services

Making referrals to other agencies and follow up to ensure services are provided.

Advocacy and liaison

Acting as an advocate if necessary with other members of the medical team and other agencies and services.  Also liaising with them if appropriate.

Facilitating support groups

Facilitating support groups for liver transplant recipients, prospective recipients, and their caregivers/support people.


This information has kindly been supplied by Ron Benjamin, Social Worker, New Zealand Liver Transplant Unit, Auckland Hospital.