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Kidney disease affects the entire family

Information campaign in the home setting of critically ill kidney patients is a success: a relative or friend is five times more likely to donate a kidney.

The ‘Nierteam aan Huis’ (Home Renal Team) has visited a great number of kidney patients and their loved ones over the past years. Dr. Sohal Ismail received his PhD on 10 June on the effectiveness of this information campaign in the home setting.

Who is the campaign for?

“For patients with chronic advanced kidney disease. Living donor kidney transplantation is often the optimal treatment for these patients. However, not everyone can easily find a donor in their circle of family or friends. It is not like asking for a cup of sugar. Raising the topic is often difficult for patients.”

Why is it that ethnically non-Dutch patients have difficulty finding donors?

“It is usually a matter of ignorance rather than religious objections. People do not know whether their religion or faith allows them to donate. So they prefer not to donate a kidney because, for example, they do not want to jeopardize their afterlife. If faith leaders support organ donation, there are hardly any objections.”

What does the ‘Nierteam aan Huis’ do?

“We provide all sorts of information: where are the kidneys located, what are the treatment options? To top it off, we explain living kidney donation. The information focuses on the loved ones as the disease does not only affect the patient: a possible solution could be receiving a kidney from a loved one. Relatives and friends should therefore be involved.”

Why in the patients’ home setting?

“In 75% of the families visited, someone came to our hospital to see whether they could donate a kidney. I don’t think this would have been possible if we had had one or two conversations at the hospital. No, we tirelessly and calmly set about our work within the families of kidney patients.”

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