Financial Stress Throughout the Transplant Process

by Mia Moore, MSW


Caregiver Lifeline Spotlight

Mia Moore, MSW

Social Worker

Gift of Life Howie’s House

During their transplant journey, many patients and caregivers experience financial stress. Chronic illness and transplants often provide little time for patients and their families to plan.

Causes of Financial Stress

Stress can often be defined as a state of worry or mental tension resulting from a challenging situation. It can impact your emotional and physical well-being in many ways, such as irritability or fatigue, and can potentially lead to anxiety or depression. With financial stress there is an emphasis on being in a state of worry or having mental or emotional strain because of issues such as budgeting, debt, or upcoming large expenses.

Many situations may arise that can cause financial stress during the transplant journey including reduced work hours or income, unexpected healthcare costs, increased travel or living expenses, lack of savings or
unforeseen emergencies.

Symptoms of Financial Stress

Symptoms of financial stress may look very similar to some reactions to your everyday stress or worries. However, due to this stress being a result of financial issues your symptoms have a direct impact on your feelings surrounding your finances. Some common symptoms are :

  • Feelings of guilt when needing to spend money
  • Difficulty falling or staying asleep
  • Lack of joy for things that you used to like doing
  • Isolating yourself from others or avoiding phone calls
  • Hopelessness regarding the future
  • Feelings of shame

Ways to Manage Financial Stress

Consult with your hospital social worker to identify transplant-specific
financial resources

  • Reach out to your bank or loan companies for resources for those
    experiencing financial issues
  • Create a new monthly budget based on your income and new expenses
  • Tend to your physical and emotional health like you would for
    other stressors. Talk about it with close family or friends, reach out
    to support groups and networks, talk to a counselor

Transplant Resources

Transplant costs vary and it is common for patients to use multiple resources to help pay for unexpected costs.

If you have issues obtaining your medications, concerns about medical costs or future coverage, or the cost of medical equipment, reach out to your transplant or dialysis social worker. There may be region-specific or organ-specific grants that you or your loved one may be eligible for.

Fundraising is also a great resource for supporting costs related to lodging, travel, and other medical expenses. The following organizations can aid with getting started:

Stress is a normal part of life and finances are a common stressor for many transplant patients and caregivers. If you have trouble navigating some of the resources listed above, please email:

1 BetterUp, Financial stress: What’s money got to do with sanity?, 2021:
2 Health Direct, Financial stress and your health, 2023:

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