Kidney Transplant: Your Care at Home

Kidney Transplant: Your Care at Home


Our goal is to help you be the best you can be, prevent infection and find early signs of rejection. Use these instructions along with the discharge instructions you were given for your care at home. Please call your transplant coordinator if you have questions.

Always follow the direction of your doctor if they vary from these guidelines.


Daily checks

  • Weigh yourself each day at the same time before breakfast. Be sure to urinate first, wear the same amount of clothing and use the same scale each day. Record your weight each day.
  • Take your blood pressure, pulse and temperature 3 times each day for the first 3 months or as ordered. Check when you wake, at lunch and at bedtime. Record your vital signs as ordered by your transplant care team or track your vital signs in the Weight, Blood Pressure, Pulse and Temperature Record. Visit to print copies of this record for ongoing tracking of your vital signs to share with your transplant coordinator at clinic visits. Use your MyChart account for online tracking and lab test results.
  • Call your transplant coordinator right away if you:
    • Gain 2 pounds or more in 1 day or 5 pounds or more in 1 week.
    • Have high blood pressure where your top number or systolic pressure is staying at or above 160, or you see that your blood pressure readings are trending higher each day.
    • Have a pulse of less than 60 or greater than 100.
    • Have a temperature greater than 100.5 degrees F or 38 degrees Celsius.


Daily living

  • You may shower. No tub baths until after your incision has completely healed.
  • Eat healthy meals and follow a general healthy diet unless otherwise instructed.
  • Drink 3 liters (96 ounces or twelve, 8-ounce cups) of fluid each day unless you have been instructed by your transplant care team to follow a different limit. One, 8-ounce cup is 240 milliliters. One liter is just a little more than four, 8-ounce cups of fluid, or two (16.9-ounce) bottled waters. Dehydration of the new organ is one reason many transplant patients need to come back to the hospital. 
  • Start a walking program. No special equipment is needed other than good walking shoes. 
  • No lifting, pulling or pushing over 10 pounds until your 6-week check up. A gallon of milk weighs about 8 pounds.
  • You may need to wear an abdominal binder when you are out of bed. It is a wide, stretchy band that helps to support your belly muscles while you heal. Wear the binder for 2 to 4 weeks or when your doctor tells you it is okay to stop.


Prevent infections

The medicines you take to prevent organ rejection make it harder for your body to fight infections. If you have any signs of infection, call your doctor and transplant coordinator to get treatment started as soon as possible. Some infections may require treatment in the hospital.

Use good personal hygiene

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Be sure to wash after sneezing, coughing, using the toilet, before and after handling food and any time that your hands are dirty.
  • Shower and bathe and wash your hair each day.
  • Brush your teeth twice each day and floss your teeth daily.
  • Use separate towels from others in your home. Change your towels every few days or as they get dirty.
  • Take care of cuts, sores and scratches. Clean any cut or scratch with soap and water or an antiseptic like hydrogen peroxide. Keep the site clean and dry by covering it with a band-aid or other dressing.

Practice food safety

  • Do not eat food or consume drinks prepared with unpasteurized milk or unpasteurized fruit or vegetable juices.
  • Avoid eating raw or under cooked eggs, meat, poultry, fish or seafood.
  • Avoid soft cheeses like feta, Brie or Camembert. For more information, read Nutrition and Diet after Transplant and Immunocompromised Diet Guidelines.
  • Avoid use of well water if possible, and do not swim in or drink water from freshwater lakes, rivers and pools.

Be cautious around crowds of people and pets

  • Avoid people with infections, such as colds or the flu. Be careful around any children who may be sick or exposed to sick children at school or day care.
  • Limit large crowds the first month after transplant as much as you can. You may be told to wear a simple face mask during your first 6 months after transplant when you need to come to the hospital or be in large crowds, especially during cold and flu season.
  • Have someone clean up after pets in the home, such as a dog or cat. Avoid handling animal waste when possible. Do not clean the litter boxes, cages and fish tanks. Birds, reptiles, amphibians and small rodents, such as mice, gerbils and hamsters can carry many germs that can be life threatening to someone with a transplant. You should find a new home for them. Talk to your transplant coordinator to be sure it is safe for you to have any pet around.

Avoid fresh plants and working in soil first 3 months after transplant

  • Avoid fresh plants, construction dust and working in the soil during the first 3 months after transplant. Wear long sleeves, gloves and a face mask after the first 3 months if you must work in the soil.

Talk to your coordinator if you plan to travel

  • If you plan to travel outside the country, talk to your transplant coordinator before you schedule or book a trip to get the vaccines and medicines you need to prevent infections.


Prevent rejection

  • Take your anti-rejection medicines each day as ordered.
  • Have your lab work done every Monday and Thursday for first 3 months after surgery. 
  • Drink your recommended amount of fluids.
  • Keep your blood pressure under control and in your target range.
  • If you have diabetes, keep your blood sugar under control.


    © 2008 – 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: