Living kidney donor support volunteers
Living Kidney Donor Program was formed by a group of living kidney donors from Sydney’s Royal North Shore Hospital (RNSH) working in conjunction with its renal transplant team to provide accurate information and support to potential kidney donors, those undergoing kidney donor work up and those who are in the post-operative phase and beyond.
Insider personal knowledge can prove invaluable with any major decisions in life and hence the donor support volunteer programme has been set up by kidney donors to provide practical support and insights into their own personal experience of kidney donation.
Currently our volunteer group comprises living kidney donors and recipients who attend education seminar programmes at RNSH to improve understanding of the donation process. The group is looking to expand this service to other kidney transplant hospitals. The volunteers attend the Living Kidney Donor Education Days and Treatment Options Day and thereby allow patients and their families the opportunity to have open discussion about the process of donation and life after donation.
Access to living kidney donor support volunteers
Currently access to a volunteer is through the living kidney donor transplant coordinator at RNSH. The transplant team will match you with a living kidney donor if you wish to participate in the programme or you may have connected with a volunteer at one of the education days and the living kidney donor coordinator will facilitate contacting the donor volunteer. The relationship that develops between you and a volunteer is largely independent of the RNSH Renal Transplant Unit. The volunteer will provide insight into their personal experience and also practical information that may prove useful through the workup process and hospital stay.
The Renal Unit endeavours to ensure that both donor and donor support volunteer are comfortable with the relationship and hence intermittent follow up calls will be done by the Living Kidney Donor Transplant Coordinator.
Living kidney donor recognition
Transplant Australia initiated the RNSHs renal transplant unit is indebted to the living kidney donors that have given so generously to their recipient. In order to formally acknowledge their sacrifice, the unit will hold a ceremony once every 2 years to publicly recognise those donors from that time period.
Since 2013, all living kidney donors receive an anniversary card thanking them for their gift and providing the donor with the opportunity to arrange follow up and ongoing assessment of their kidney and general health. The renal unit at Royal North Shore Hospital is committed to ensuring the long term health of its kidney donors.
How do I become a living kidney donor support volunteer?
Anybody who has donated a kidney can be a volunteer if they wish. Become a member of Transplant Australia’s Living Kidney Donor Program and indicate your interest in the process will put you in contact with other members of the group.
It is acknowledged that there are individuals who have gone through the extensive work up and for a number of reasons have been unable to donate. This can be a frustrating and upsetting time. It is hoped with time that a group of volunteers may be formed from this group to provide support to those who are dealing with the fallout of having gotten so near and yet so far.