When starting dialysis, patients are often overwhelmed with the adjustment to their new lifestyle. Navigating end stage renal disease, especially for new patients, can become frustrating, and sometimes can lead to patients feeling defeated by their chronic illness. Additionally, patients experience feelings of loneliness or isolation.
According to the American Association of Kidney Patients (AAKP), becoming involved in a support or adjustment group offers patients emotional support, reduces the feelings associated with loneliness, and provides a safe and secure platform to discuss feelings and emotions commonly associated with the diagnosis of renal failure. A patient making the decision to attend a support or adjustment groups signifies the first step towards acceptance and understanding of their diagnosis.
Initiating, implementing, and sustaining a support group can have its challenges. AAKP offers the Community Patient Support Group Guidebook. The resource was created to assist patients, family and caregivers, and dialysis providers with starting patient support or adjustment group in your service area. The AAKP website offers several ideas for session topics and patient education materials. Visit http://www.aakp.org/ for additional information or call (800)749-AAKP.