By Kathi Niccum, EdD, Education Director
In March we launched our first Patient Support Group meeting by telephone. Having a support group has been one of our goals for years and we are happy to announce it is now a reality. We chose to have the group meet by phone instead of online in a Zoom meeting because we think most people use the telephone. And we want the support group to be available to all patients at any stage of kidney disease and to their families. On the second Tuesday of each month, at 3:00 pm Eastern, you can join in the conversation or just listen during the one-hour meeting. The facilitator for the group is a kidney patient, who is our past board president for the DPC Education Center, and she will be joined by a DPC staff member on the calls. In addition, there will usually be a different “professional guest” (doctor, nurse, social worker, dietitian, psychologist, etc.) each month. To learn more about each month’s call, visit our web page at https://www.dpcedcenter.org/news-events/dpc-support-group/.
Some people will be wondering why they should consider joining a support group. The advantages are many and it is hard to come up with any reasons not to join. At the top of the list is that you will learn more about kidney disease, know you are not alone, and that hope exists. The telephone support group means you do not have to travel, you do not have to dress up, and you can even use your phone’s speaker if you do not want to hold the phone! You can listen to the experiences of others, share tips that work for you which might then help someone else, and ask questions or listen to the professional guest on the call. You can both learn from others and others can learn from you. You can talk or listen – no one will put you on the spot to share your ideas or your feelings.
The group works because people are respectful of each other. Only one person talks at a time. It is not a gripe session or a time to complain about facilities or staff. It is a time to know that you are not alone in your journey and that there is hope even when there are challenges to overcome. Learning new information helps us feel more confident and in control of the choices we make. The ideas and tips from others who have walked the path of kidney disease are invaluable. We hope you will join us!