Living with chronic kidney disease can be a devastating experience, one that comes with significant expenses, daily disruption, and lasting medical uncertainty. Luckily, people will often step up to help patients and their families during their time of need – but what’s the best way to offer support? If you want to support renal failure patients in your community, consider these four outreach options. The key is to use your talents and follow your passions. Not everyone can meet every need, but everyone can fulfill some need.
Make a Donation
One of the simplest things anyone can do to support renal failure patients is to make a donation. This may be a monetary donation directly to the family or a foundation, or a material donation, since many charities run thrift stores to raise additional funds for their work. The National Kidney Foundation also runs a program to accept donated cars to offset patients’ financial needs.
Every donation makes a difference when it comes to supporting patients, as well as furthering research to improve care and pursue a cure for chronic renal disease.
Provide a Ride
Many patients in renal failure require frequent dialysis – often up to three times a week. That can be a serious challenge, especially for families that only have one car, or who live far from the dialysis center. One thing that can help patients a great deal, then, is volunteering to provide rides to dialysis patients so that their family members can continue to work and they can receive proper treatment. Because these treatments can be time consuming, many patients end up having to cut their care short to avoid missing a ride, or have to skip treatments because no one can take them, both of which can worsen their already fragile health.
Be an Organ Donor
Unlike the heart or pancreas, it’s possible to be a living kidney donor, as long as you meet eligibility requirements. Living kidney donors need to be in good general health, cannot be coerced or paid in any way, and need to be a blood and tissue match. What’s more, you don’t need to be a friend or relative to be a living donor; in fact, anyone can donate a kidney and if you don’t have an intended recipient, organ donation professionals will assist with the matching process.
Prepare a Meal
Because kidney damage can be caused or worsened by high blood pressure, individuals in renal failure need to eat a special diet. This adds even more work, and often expense, to the load being carried by patients and their families. It can be a substantial help to these families if community members volunteer to provide meals that meet these dietary requirements. Doing so can be a learning curve, especially for those who don’t otherwise cook much, but if you consider yourself a skilled cook, this is the perfect way to extend care to those in need.
Not all kidney disease patients are good candidates for an organ transplant or even dialysis, but all need care and support – and everyone has the ability to help. So, reach out to those around you and ask what they need, or simply make a specific offer. People may not always know how to ask for help, but they are usually grateful to receive it.