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Peer mentoring improves quality of life for those with chronic kidney disease

The use of peer mentoring can improve the quality of life for patients with chronic kidney disease. Dr. Nasr Ghahramani’s research project compared patient quality of life and caregiver burden of those who were mentored to those who were not.

A head-and-shoulders professional photo of Nasrollah Ghahramani, MD, MS

Nasr Ghahramani, MD, MS

The project benefited from engaging the chronic kidney disease community in the design, recruitment, implementation and analysis of the study. Ghahramani formed a community advisory board of patients, caregivers, providers and community members for guidance.

“The community advisory board consisted of various stakeholders and thus allowed for input from a diverse group of individuals,” Ghahramani said. “The input was key in the design and implementation of the study.”

The community advisory board was unique in that it included patients, caregivers, and community stakeholders, including Kidney Foundation of Central Pennsylvania, a patient advocacy organization.

“The board played a key role in the explanation of the project to the general public,” Ghahramani said. “This was key in our recruitment efforts and in keeping study participants engaged through the study follow-up.”

In the research project, well-adjusted patients with chronic kidney disease and caregivers participated in a 16-hour structured training program to become certified peer mentors. They then mentored newly diagnosed patients with chronic kidney disease and their caregivers, either online or face-to-face. It was through engaging patients and caregivers that the suggestion of including an online comparison evolved. The research results have shown that these online mentoring interactions are often more effective than face-to-face methods in improving the quality of life of patients and caregivers.

“The essential goal of the project is to understand the role of peer mentoring on improvements of patient and caregiver quality of life and more active engagement in care,” Ghahramani said.

Ghahramani is a professor and Vice Chair for Educational Affairs in the Department of Medicine, Chief of the Division of Nephrology and a professor in the Department of Public Health Sciences.

The research was funded by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute.

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