New renal peer support role is a first in the East of England

Renal patient Dom Willison has joined the Trust in a new role to provide one-to-one support for people going through dialysis treatment at the Trust’s renal units. It’s the first time that a renal patient has been recruited into this role in the East of England.

The peer support facilitator role, which has been funded by the Lister Area Kidney Patient Association for two years, has been created in response to feedback from renal patients who felt that they would be better supported by somebody experiencing similar treatment.

Above from left to right: Maria Da Silva-Gane, lead clinical counsellor, and Dom Willison, renal peer support facilitator

Dom will lead a team of trained volunteers who will be paired with patients from the start of their treatment, supporting them throughout and highlighting any issues or concerns to the renal multi-disciplinary team.

Speaking about her new role, Dom said:

“As a renal patient myself, who has had two transplants and all forms of dialysis treatment, I hope that my previous experience will help me to provide one-to-one support to new renal patients beginning their treatment with us.”

Dr Suresh Mathavakkannan, renal consultant and the Trust’s divisional chair for medicine, said:

“We’re very pleased to have been able to develop this unique role, with support from LAKPA. This role is important for our renal patients, as it’ll give them more independence with the management of their condition. Greater independence has shown to be crucial in improving patient outcomes.

“Dom will facilitate patient-to-patient support, which will ease some of the anxiety people may have about starting their dialysis treatment. She will also be there to address and discuss issues that are important to patients and bring them to the attention of the renal multi-disciplinary team.”