Did you know that peer mentoring has been proven to be a successful strategy to educate patients about their options for treatment, including transplant? The Network has resources and tools available to help train patients who are interested in becoming peer mentors. Contact the Network today to sign up your facility for the Network’s new peer mentorship training program.
According to the National Kidney Foundation, peer support is reported to be effective in helping kidney patients adjust to kidney disease, long-term dialysis therapy and kidney transplantation. Peer support programs utilize someone who is living with the same disease to assist patients in managing their own health. This can be particularly effective when the patient is newly diagnosed or is having trouble coming to terms with the disease. In addition, peer support has become strongly linked with attempts to increase patients’ ability to self-manage their condition, and the drive to improve healthcare outcomes. Peer support works because patients are able to give each other something the clinician does not have, shared life experience.
A peer mentor empowers fellow patients to move forward with their lives after being diagnosed with ESRD. Peer mentoring provides support and increases the confidence that many new patients need, and offers patients access to someone who has been through the similar experiences and can understand their concerns. Peer mentors can come from all backgrounds. Mentors should be individuals with positive outlooks on managing kidney disease. Individuals who are succeeding at achieving their treatment goals can provide insight to help others successfully manage kidney disease.
The IPRO ESRD Network program provides technical assistance to facilities in multiple ways including education and resources to support patient engagement at the facility level. One way the Network encourages patient engagement is through the assistance we offer to local facilities in implementing or learning more about available peer mentorship/ambassador programs.
According to an article published in 2015, “Potential Impact of Peer Mentoring on Treatment Choice in Patients with Chronic Kidney Disease: A Review,” written by Nasrollah Ghahramani MD, FACP, FASN, peer to peer programs have shown to help patients become more involved in their health care. Patients who work with a peer as a mentor are able to make more informed decisions about their dialysis treatment options and are better informed about transplant processes. Being informed about health care decisions by peers with shared experiences can build self-confidence which then leads to overall better health outcomes.
To read more about Ghahramani’s findings, click here.
To learn more about patient programs offered by your Network or local agencies, contact your ESRD Patient Services Department. Our Patient Services Team is here to assist with resources on the benefits of implementing patient peer programs or other patient support programming at your facility.