Research tells us supporting the psychosocial needs of people with kidney disease helps them live longer in much better health, allowing them to enjoy time doing what they love with the people they care about.
Yet there is still wide variation in services despite the Government’s message of parity of esteem between physical and mental health. So it’s crucial the UK Government and devolved Governments work towards achieving an integrated whole-system approach to the care available to everyone living with kidney disease.
The term psychosocial is used to refer to the full range of psychological, psychiatric and social care needs.
Read the Psychosocial Care Manifesto below
Declining resources, rising demand
A chronic kidney disease diagnosis can have a significant impact on all aspects of a person’s life, particularly their emotional wellbeing and mental health.
The results of three kidney patient surveys conducted by Kidney Care UK since the Covid-19 pandemic hit the UK (Worried sick, Out of sight out of mind, Lifting lockdown) help to highlight the considerable challenges faced by patients seeking to live well with kidney disease. With over 2,400 responses, the surveys form a unique collection of information, insights and personal feelings collected directly from the kidney patient community. Emotional wellbeing ranks highly on patients’ list of worries with nearly seven in ten (68%) respondents requesting continued mental health support.
Over the past 15 years, adult renal social work resources have reduced dramatically, by nearly a fifth (19%), despite increasing numbers of patients. With nearly half (49.3%) of all renal units operating without any adult renal social workers there is a clear and pressing need for improvement. It’s vital this downward trend in support is reversed.
Psychosocial support for kidney patients: time for action
The Psychosocial Care Manifesto is a ‘National Call to Action’ for all patients, their families, friends and healthcare teams to join together to demand equal access to the highest quality, timely and renal specialist psychosocial care.
It sets out 10 clear recommendations aimed at achieving an integrated whole-system approach to the care a person living with kidney disease should receive.
We can't achieve real change without you – please join us
We will continue to ensure our politicians in national and devolved government hear the voices of kidney patients and work towards improving care to meet their psychological and social needs. Our manifesto includes ideas and opportunities for you to join us to make the case for real change for people affected by kidney disease. By joining us and taking action, you can help achieve that change. To be part of our Psychosocial Campaign Group email us on [email protected]
Psychosocial Care Manifesto
Identification of psychosocial care needs
- Every kidney patient should have their psychosocial care needs assessed using validated methods.
Provision of psychosocial care at all levels of need
- Every kidney patient should be provided with appropriate psychosocial care that fully supports their level of need, as part of their standard NHS care.
- Psychosocial care interventions should increase with a person’s level of need.
Integration of kidney patient care
- Psychosocial care needs should be integrated into kidney patient care plans (which are produced by a patient’s hospital kidney team).
- New NHS Integrated Care Systems should ensure different parts of the system are better joined-up to support the psychosocial care needs of people with kidney disease, as well as their physical health.
- Renal multidisciplinary teams (MDTs) should integrate renal specialist psychology, counselling, social work and psychiatry to ensure kidney patients have access to all of the support they need to help them manage their condition and the complex interactions between mental and physical health.
Psychosocial care workforce needs
- Staffing levels should be monitored to support access and equality to psychosocial care.
- All renal staff should receive training in the mental health needs of patients so that they are able to act as “first responders” and know who and where to refer patients. Mental health staff should receive training about renal disease screening and management for their patients with severe mental illness and dementia.
Accountability and reporting
- Minimum national standards of psychosocial care should be introduced and monitored so all patients receive equal access to the care they need, no matter where they are in the country.
- A dashboard should be created to monitor the success of psychosocial care services in improving kidney patient health.
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