Dialysis patients who are considering whether to pursue a kidney transplant can check out a new resource to help them make that decision. The resource—a guide that was written by patients with End-Stage Renal Disease—provides an overview of the decisions that need to be made when getting a transplant, the rewards and risks involved, and what to expect after the transplant. Patient stories, questions to ask transplant facilities and additional resources are also included in the guide. Download the guide.
By Stacy Ogbeide, PsyD, ABPP, CSOWM DPC Education Center Advisory Council Member Stress Management—a topic those living with heart disease and chronic kidney disease have heard before but now in 2020, takes a whole new meaning. We are in the COVID-19 pandemic—unprecedented times—that are impacting people physically, financially, socially, spiritually, and emotionally. Maybe your healthcare has been disrupted; treatment disrupted; work, social, and family life disrupted. Your current stress management options are no longer working, or you don’t have access to your typical stress management options, which is beginning to take a toll on you. Don’t lose heart—I’d like to share a few thoughts and ideas about how to manage your stress levels during [...]
Medicare Advantage Now Open for Enrollment, "A Mindful Heart": Stress Management Tools for Patients Living with Heart Disease and Chronic Kidney Disease, Kidney Patients and Coronavirus: What Have We Learned? and more!
If the global pandemic is starting to negatively impact your mental health, there is a resource that can help you better understand and cope with the feelings you are experiencing. This toolkit includes suggestions for: increasing public awareness, building community capacity, using telemedicine and how to stay ahead of the potential emerging issues. Check out the toolkit.
Between now and December 7, dialysis patients are, for the first time, able to choose a Medicare Advantage plan for their coverage. Medicare Advantage is an alternative to traditional Medicare run by private insurance companies. To help kidney patients explore their options, Dialysis Patient Citizens has established Dialysis Plan Choice, an online tool designed in collaboration with Consumers’ Checkbook for dialysis patients to quickly and easily compare their current Medicare Fee-For-Service plan with the options available to them through Medicare Advantage. DialysisPlanChoice.org helps patients and caregivers more easily understand what plans are available to them, the costs are associated with those plans, and, most importantly, which plans will include their care providers. Dialysis Plan Choice, available at www.DialysisPlanChoice.org, provides patients with a [...]
The DPC Education Center just launched a new online course called: Exercise and the Benefits to You and Your Kidneys. Exercise is important for our physical and mental health. This course explains why exercise is important, how it benefits people living with kidney disease and how you can develop a personalized exercise program that will work for you. Check out the Course
Our two popular booklets, "Tips for Teens Living with Kidney Disease" and "Kidney Disease Tips for Teens Living with Cystinosis" are now available for download in Spanish. These booklets provide information for teens who learn they have kidney disease. They include a brief overview of living with End stage renal disease, the importance of diet and medication adherence, and potential treatment methods. They also touch on feelings related to having a chronic illness, family and friends, and being a teen. Download the booklets
Flu season is approaching, and it is just as important to get your shot as ever before. People with chronic kidney disease are more susceptible to developing severe flu complications, due to a weakened immune system. The COVID-19 pandemic adds some complexities to flu season this year as there is risk for infection from either illness. Although there is no vaccine available for COVID-19, you can lower your risk for getting the flu by getting the flu vaccine. In fact, the flu vaccine prevented 39 percent of flu cases among people that received the vaccine last year. In addition, the types of activities people have been doing to prevent the spread of COVID-19—such as handwashing—will [...]
By Elizabeth Steinberg Christofferson, PhD An increasingly vital aspect of the COVID-19 pandemic is how the pandemic impacts our mental health, overall well-being, and how we cope with the pandemic, especially as it continues on for a longer period than we may have anticipated or hoped. This article provides psychoeducation on the connection between stress, chronic illness, and COVID-19, tips for managing anxiety related to these stressors, and resources for further support. Stress During COVID-19 and Symptoms to Look Out for COVID-19 adds to already present stress that impacts patients and families on many levels in terms of their medical and physical health, emotional and mental health, family, school, and social lives. Having a chronic [...]
By Elizabeth Steinberg Christofferson, PhD and Leah Grande, MA Preparing for and receiving a kidney transplant, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, can be an uncertain and overwhelming process. This article discusses tips to promote positive mental and physical health for yourself or your loved ones. Preparing for a Transplant There are many different emotions associated with deciding to go on the transplant list, and all of these feelings are normal and valid! You may feel excited about the potential for improved health and energy, fewer restrictions on what you can eat and drink (although you still want to eat a heart-healthy diet!), more time in your day, and changes in quality of life.7 Many [...]
By Alan S. Kliger, MD The COVID-19 pandemic has changed life for virtually everyone on the planet. For most of this year, we have all gone through many troubling emotions: fear, disbelief, anxiety, anger, mistrust, cynicism. We also have learned so much, and have looked to the future for trust, hope, anticipation, and most of all the ability to get on with life beyond face masks, social distancing, closed schools and closed businesses, and to a time we don’t have to worry every time someone walks toward us: might they be the one who infects me. In the midst of such upheaval, people with chronic kidney disease, including those who receive dialysis treatment or who [...]
New medical treatments and products are continually being developed for people living with kidney disease. Part of the development process for high quality, scientific, and safe options is through research to test the treatment or product before it becomes available on the market. This phase of research is called a clinical trial or a clinical research project. People can volunteer to be part of a clinical trial if they meet the specific requirements for the study. You might consider participating in the research process for many reasons including if it has a personal meaning for you or if you want to give back in an effort to help other patients. Some clinical trials reimburse patients [...]
As officials across the country make decisions on how to safely reopen cities amid a global pandemic, people with End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) must remain vigilant about taking precautions to lower their risk for COVID-19 infection. COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations increased significantly among ESRD patients from May 16 to June 20, as reported by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. The number of kidney disease patients who were diagnosed reached 3,818 per 100,000 people, while hospitalizations were reported at 1,911 per 100,000 people. These rates are more than double that of the general population during that same time frame, demonstrating how vulnerable kidney patients may be as well as the need for continued vigilance. [...]
Emergency grants can help cover costs for transportation, medication, rent and food when someone is sick. This one-page guide will help you better understand the submission process with a summary of searching, preparing, applying and tracking grants. Included is a list of documents you may be asked to submit with your grant request. Reach out to your social worker if you need help. Check out the guide.
By Rachel Fintzy Woods, MA, MFT So many aspects of life are beyond our control. When the challenges of managing an illness such as chronic kidney disease are added to our plate, we can feel overwhelmed. Emotions such as anger, confusion, fear and sadness are common and natural, especially at the outset of our journey with illness. It can seem as if our world has been turned upside down. Yet we do have some say in how we deal with the cards we’ve been dealt, including our medical condition and life itself. We alone are responsible for our actions and our attitudes—the word “responsibility” refers to our ability to respond, after all. We can expand [...]
The U.S. Public Health Service (PHS) recently released the PHS Guideline for Solid Organ Donor Assessment for Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), Hepatitis B Virus (HBV), and Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) Infection and Transplant Recipient Monitoring. This document updates existing PHS guidance pertaining to solid organ donors and recipients and testing for HIV, HBV, and HCV in addition to informed consent and appropriately communicating the risk of disease transmission to transplant candidates. The revised guideline reflects substantial advances in testing technology and treatment that improve patient safety. Key things for you to know: Risk of infection due to transplant is very low. Advances in highly accurate testing have made it easier for healthcare providers to quickly [...]