Get Involved: Tailoring a Pathway for Mental Health Care for Albertans on Dialysis
“I have met many, many medical staff that are scared of depression and anxiety. Any mental health issues – they don’t even wanna talk about them, period. So, if they’re asking the depression question and think, ‘Oh my goodness. He is a seven out of ten, wow! I wonder what’s going on there?’ But once they ask that question, they really need to be prepared to do something about it.” (An Albertan home dialysis participant from our study on quality of life.)
Mental health concerns are very common for people on dialysis. Up to four out of 10 experience depression and anxiety. This has likely increased due to COVID-19, similar for many Canadians. But dialysis patients are also isolated and now have different health care services. Albertans on dialysis have said that their mental health is a top priority. Unfortunately, mental health symptoms are rarely addressed or treated in dialysis. The patient quoted above expressed this so well.
Dialysis clinicians do not feel prepared to address mental health. Here is what one nephrologist said in our previous study on quality of life:
“You know, things such as anxiety, depression – those aren’t things that we’re particularly well adept at managing. So, the truth is, most nephrologists, my guess is, would just as soon not hear about things that don’t really fall into their scope of practice.”
We want to address this gap in dialysis care.
We plan to work together with people on dialysis, community members, clinicians, leaders, and researchers to create a document, called a “pathway”, to guide mental health care.
•First, we will find out what is currently done for mental health care in dialysis across Alberta. We will interview patients, clinicians, and administrators. We will also send a survey to clinicians.
• Second, we will speak with clinicians in primary care and mental health to find out how dialysis patients can access their help.
• Third, we will look at the tools currently used by dialysis patients to report on their mental health symptoms, and the quality of their overall care. And we will see how their responses can be used to provide them with the best care.
• Fourth, we will use all of this information to draft a pathway. We will invite patients, clinicians, leaders, and researchers to give their feedback. We will revise the pathway based on their recommendations. In so doing, we bring together those in the kidney community to create the best mental health care for those on dialysis.
Our research funded by the Kidney Foundation of Canada will address a major gap in our understanding about how to address and provide support to people on dialysis who are experiencing mental health symptoms. Our findings may ultimately improve the quality of life for Canadians on dialysis living with mental health symptoms. Results may also be applied to kidney programs across Canada and internationally.
Goals: Collaboratively develop a care pathway for people receiving dialysis who are experiencing mental health symptoms.
Study Type: Focus Group
Commitment: Living with end-stage kidney disease is a major life adjustment. We are doing focus groups to learn from Albertans on dialysis: -How are you doing? -How could we improve care for people adjusting to or coping with dialysis?
Seeking participants from: You are eligible if - you receive dialysis (all modalities) - live in Alberta We will do focus groups on Zoom. In order to attend, you will need access to a computer or tablet with both a speaker and microphone. Alternatively, you can also access Zoom using your phone. Please note that connecting to Zoom by phone may result in long-distance fees.