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New book to help children at Alder Hey facing kidney transplant

16 March 2023

A new book has been launched today, Thursday 16 March, specially tailored to support children with kidney disease being treated at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital.  

Kidney Research UK and Alder Hey Children’s Charity have funded the book, created by publisher Get Better Books, to help children at the hospital prepare for a kidney transplant. 

'My New Kidney'

The playful, interactive book shows what to expect in the lead up to and after their operation using a fun approach to alleviate anxiety. Titled ‘My New Kidney’, it is designed to encourage the recipients to colour, comment, write questions, draw and stick things in – creating important engagement so families can explore the transplant process together. 

Male wearing a mask, sat at his desk, holding the book.
Owen Morris, transplant nurse

Support for children and families

Each year around 30 children looked after at Alder Hey have a kidney transplant. Their kidneys will have failed for a variety of reasons and some may not have worked properly since birth. Whilst not a cure, a transplant offers patients freedom from gruelling, time consuming dialysis and other restrictions, such as the amount they can drink and what they can eat. 

“We wanted to offer support to families, at what can be a very stressful time,” explained Christine Beyga, trusts manager from Kidney Research UK. “The children will often have been through a great deal in their short lives. The team at Get Better Books have worked closely with staff at Alder Hey and created this fantastic guide for children, siblings and their parents.  

“Children at Alder Hey transfer to the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital for their actual operation, so it’s even more important that families are well informed and supported from the outset.” 

All children who are preparing for a transplant will receive their own copy of the book which comes with felt tips and a ‘My New Kidney’ drawstring bag. The book can be used by the children and their families to talk about the transplant before, during and afterwards. 

Two men, two women and boy holding copies of the book and blue bags in the corridor at hospital.
Jake Abrahams Georgina Potier, Luke Amos, Christine Beyga, Dan McKevitt

Non-profit publishers Get Better Books have previously worked with Great Ormond Street Hospital to create bespoke patient materials for children facing a range of clinical conditions. Their designer and illustrator Georgina Potier said: “We started Get Better Books with the goal of creating beautiful, interactive books and communication design to help paediatric patients understand their treatment, alleviate anxiety and get better!” 

Dr Louise Oni, consultant paediatric nephrologist at Alder Hey said: “This is a great book for children that are about to have a kidney transplant. It helps them through all of the stages. It’s gloriously fun and silly too!”  

Owen Morris, renal transplant nurse at Alder Hey added: “This is such an exciting step forward for our transplant patients which will aid their transplant journey.”  

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