New to Dialysis? American Kidney Fund’s ‘FIRST30’ Public Education Campaign Helps New Dialysis Patients Adjust to Treatment

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Campaign focuses on first 30 days of dialysis, a crucial period of adjustment

FIRST30 from the American Kidney Fund helps new dialysis patients adjust to treatment

FIRST30 from the American Kidney Fund helps new dialysis patients adjust to treatment

For people newly diagnosed with kidney failure, the first months of dialysis treatment are an enormously challenging time.

The American Kidney Fund (AKF), the nation’s leading nonprofit working on behalf of 31 million Americans with kidney disease, today launched FIRST30, an integrated public and professional education campaign that provides vital information for people newly diagnosed with kidney failure, their caregivers and the professionals involved in their treatment. The campaign focuses on the first 30 days of dialysis treatment, a crucial period of adjustment for patients.

Because kidney failure has no cure—the only treatments are dialysis or transplant—the vast majority of the 100,000 Americans who develop kidney failure each year will spend time on dialysis. The number of people waiting for a transplant far exceeds the number of available donor organs. More than 100,000 individuals with kidney failure are on the waiting list for a transplant; so far this year, fewer than 16,000 kidney transplants have been performed.

“For people newly diagnosed with kidney failure, the first months of dialysis treatment are an enormously challenging time. Our FIRST30 campaign aims to provide easy-to-understand, supportive resources that make navigating the process easier for those feeling overwhelmed by their new situation,” said LaVarne A. Burton, president and chief executive officer of the American Kidney Fund.

Under a generous grant from Sanofi Renal, AKF undertook the development of FIRST30 to help newly diagnosed patients make sense of their “new normal” while transitioning successfully and adhering to a dialysis regimen. A central component of the campaign is to help patients understand, manage and accept their treatment, since life-sustaining dialysis can be hugely disruptive to their lives and requires radical lifestyle adjustments.

For 45 years, AKF has provided health education and financial support for dialysis patients to improve health outcomes and save lives. The FIRST30 campaign aims to help the more than 100,000 Americans who begin dialysis each year to treat kidney failure, a number that continues to rise with the aging population and the increasing prevalence of diabetes and high blood pressure, the leading causes of kidney failure.

The campaign has tools and resources for both patients and the professionals who care for them:
-- A FIRST30 checklist that breaks down the priority items to consider week-by-week such as coping with the diagnosis, diet adjustments, understanding dialysis treatment and where to turn with specific questions.
-- A series of videos featuring kidney patients and renal professionals talking about adjusting to life as a dialysis patients.
-- An online continuing education course for allied health professionals, “Helping Your New Patients and Their Loved Ones Adjust to Dialysis,” due to launch in early 2017.
-- Posts on AKF’s blog, Kidney Today, on FIRST30 topics.
-- Social media discussions and posts on successful adjustment to dialysis tied to campaign elements using the hashtag #FIRST30.
-- A web landing page with week-by-week information, videos and additional resources on all aspects of adjusting to dialysis.

Patients, their caregivers and health professionals can access FIRST30 resources online at KidneyFund.org/first30.

About the American Kidney Fund
As the nation’s leading nonprofit working on behalf of the 31 million Americans with kidney disease, the American Kidney Fund is dedicated to ensuring that every kidney patient has access to health care, and that every person at risk for kidney disease is empowered to prevent it. AKF provides a complete spectrum of programs and services: prevention outreach, top-rated health educational resources, and direct financial assistance enabling 1 in 5 U.S. dialysis patients to access lifesaving medical care, including dialysis and transplantation.

For more information, please visit KidneyFund.org, or connect with us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Follow the conversation using #FIRST30.

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Alice Andors
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