Kidney Transplant: Your Care in the Hospital

Kidney Transplant: Your Care in the Hospital


For the first 24 hours after surgery, you will stay in a special care room on the transplant unit. You will have your vital signs and urine output checked often. This room is not able to accommodate family overnight. After 24 hours, you will be moved to a regular room on the transplant unit. Children under 12 and live flowers are not allowed on the unit to protect our patients.

  • A narrow, flexible tube, called a Foley catheter, was placed during surgery to drain urine and to allow time for the connection between your bladder and your new transplanted organ to heal. The catheter is removed a few days after surgery. Keep the catheter clean to prevent infection. After the catheter is removed, ask for help to go to the bathroom.
  • You will have blood tests to check how your new organ is working.
  • Medicines will be ordered to help manage your pain. Tell your doctor or nurse how well the medicines are controlling your pain.
  • A stool softener medicine will be ordered to help you pass stool without straining.
  • Do deep breathing and coughing every hour you are awake to clear your lungs after surgery. Use a pillow to support your incision. Your nurse will teach you how to use a device called an incentive spirometer.
  • A compression device will be used to prevent blood clots. The device is a pump and lower leg wraps or foot wraps. The wrap is placed on the leg and is held in place by Velcro strips. A tube connects to the wrap from the pump. When the pump is turned on, air is pumped into the wrap, causing it to feel snug on your leg or foot. This pressure keeps the blood flowing through your veins. Wear the device when you are in bed or sitting up in a chair. If you need help to remove or replace the wraps when you get up to use the bathroom or walk, let your nurse know. 
  • Staff will help you get out of bed and walk short distances. This helps to rebuild strength, prevent blood clots and improve blood circulating to the new organ. You should plan to be out of bed within the first 24 hours after surgery.
  • Gas pains are common after surgery. Tell your team how you feel. Walking several times a day can help to improve your comfort.
  • When your bowel function returns after surgery, you will be given fluids to drink and then solid food to eat as your stomach is able to tolerate foods. 
  • In the hospital, you need to run the shower for 10 minutes before getting in to flush to flush the water lines to reduce the risk of infection. You should not need to do this at home.
  • You need to take anti-rejection medicines every day for the rest of your life. You will be taught about your medicines. Do not skip doses or it may put your transplant at greater risk for rejection.
  • You will be taught how to take your vital signs and check your temperature and weight. If you have questions or concerns about what equipment to use or how to take your blood pressure or pulse, please ask your nurse or others on the team.
  • You will be taught how to care for your incision before going home. Staples hold your incision closed. No dressing is needed unless you are having drainage. Keep the incision clean and dry.

When you go home, follow your discharge instructions.


© 2015 – August 29, 2019, The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.

This handout is for informational purposes only. Talk with your doctor or healthcare team if you have any questions about your care. For more health information, call the Library for Health Information at 614-293-3707 or email: