The Ostrova Charitable Foundation has presented a project to improve psychological support for patients awaiting lung transplant (at every stage of the transplantation process) in the COVID-19 context and has won the award of the Presidential Grants Foundation.
The contest was initiated by the President of the Russian Federation for the support of socially oriented nonprofit organizations in the fight against the coronavirus disease expansion. It was applied by 3,868 nonprofit organizations. The independent expert assessment selected 900 projects as winners, the Ostrova project among them. Interregional Charitable Public Organization «Svoya Atmosfera» — a social entity created on the initiative of lung transplant patients — became our project partner.
Back in 2013, we initiated purchasing dietary food for patients awaiting a lung transplant. Since 2018, we have been providing psychological support to those on the transplantation waiting list or those in rehabilitation. However, this support was available only to CF patients.
Thanks to the funding of the Presidential Grants Foundation, the psychological support program will be expanded. All patients awaiting a lung transplant, regardless of the diagnosis, will be consulted on request from September 2020 till June 30, 2021.
This project has been implemented by the Ostrova Charitable Foundation with the support from the grant of the President of the Russian Federation for the civil society development provided by the Presidential Grants Foundation.
Today, in Russia there are about 90 patients on the lung transplant waiting list, 20 more are being queued. The average waiting time is 9–12 months, but yet in some cases, it takes up to 2–3 years. When people don’t know how long it will take, they have to completely reorganize their daily life, and most leave hometowns and move to Moscow to wait for their procedures.
The international and European standards prescribe that every patient dealing with lung transplantation, along with subject matter specialists, must be attended by a medical psychologist. Russia’s medical care standards don’t yet provide for routine psychological counseling in this case. And still, such counseling is an objective necessity. This helps the patient live to see the operation, cope with the psychological pressure of knowing the high risks faced, and save their breath for the recovery after the transplant.
This year, in the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of psychological support requests doubled. Patients waiting for and recovering after the surgery are the especially high-risk group for the COVID-19 disease. They need stricter isolation measures, and this produces additional organizational and psychoemotional load on the patients themselves and their family caregivers.
In these epidemiologically hard times, it is especially important to keep providing more psychological counseling for everyone in need. The patient consultation also provides for pulmonologists and thoracic surgeons to invite a medical psychologist to take part in case conferences and obtain a professional opinion as regards the specific clinical case.
To find a brief overview of our project on the website of the Presidential Grants Foundation, go to a link.