Helping patients make choices
ACE: Acceptance, Choice & Empowerment - A Peer Educator based community project that aims to improve choice and quality of life for pre-dialysis patients
ACE is a collaborative 12-month pilot project led by Kidney Research UK and the renal team at The Heart of England Foundation Trust (HEFT), supported by a grant from Baxter Healthcare Ltd.
Home based dialysis therapy is associated with improved quality of life and patient outcomes as well as cost-savings, however, the uptake of home dialysis at HEFT is lowest of the seven renal units in the West Midlands, particularly amongst Black and Minority Ethnic (BAME) patients, who make up 40% of the catchment population.
The overall objective of this exciting project is to raise awareness about dialysis, particularly home-based treatments, in order to address the issue and evaluate using the charity’s well established and multi award winning Peer Educator (PE) model to support patient decision making.
How the project works
11 Peer Educators, all with some experience of renal replacement therapy, have been recruited and trained to an accredited level, equivalent to a first year undergraduate.
A Peer Educator Coordinator oversees and manages the day to day deployment of the PEs and the model has been adapted in collaboration with the kidney failure nurse support team to facilitate patient acceptance, choice and empowerment.
Throughout the project, peer educators are accompanying nursing staff in clinics where patients have the opportunity to talk to them about dialysis options and to learn more about life on dialysis.
Home visits then follow in order to introduce dialysis options to patients in the context of their own lives. The Dialysis Decision Aid booklet developed by Dr Hilary Bekker and Kidney Research UK is an integral part of the project and training about its evidence base and usage has been provided for the project team by Dr Bekker.
ACE is due to finish in September 2016 at which point the project will be evaluated.
Our previous work with Peer Educators is proven in effectiveness and has been commissioned by other funders and so we are optimistic that once we have interpreted our findings we will be in a position to suggest solutions to this issue which will likely benefit patients, carers and the renal centres serving them.
The reflective diaries of the Peer Educators and the highly positive feedback from patients in clinics and at a recent Asian patient information day, indicate that we are making excellent progress towards addressing the challenges of dialysis choices.
You can read more about John, one of our peer educators on the ACE project, here.
Patients or carers who have experiences of dialysis and who live in the Birmingham area can get in touch to get involved. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01923 510 196 or 07810 555 844 for more information.