Thriving despite having a serious chronic illness requires educational and emotional support to cope and adapt. Peer-based support programs can assist patients with adjustment to and management of a new diagnosis and treatment. Research shows that patients with a variety of health conditions, including cancer, diabetes, and traumatic brain injury benefit from peer mentoring programs. With one focus being a shared experience, peer support is especially effective for dialysis patients. It can uniquely address issues of adjustment to treatment, end-of-life planning, and fears related to transplantation. Effective peer mentoring programs result in increased self-management skills, improved psychosocial status, and promising targeted clinical outcomes. Here you will find information on peer mentoring and support programs currently available in the renal community.
The NPFE-LAN is a partnership between patients, family members, caregivers, and dialysis providers. It is a vehicle for bringing the patient voice to the kidney community that creates opportunities for in-depth learning, problem solving, and achievement of patient-driven goals for quality improvement at the national level.
In 2015, the NPFE LAN developed some key documents for peer mentoring programs, including:
- Peer Mentoring: Roles and Benefits
A one-page reference briefly summarizing some of the many benefits of peer mentoring.
- Peer Mentorship Program Guidelines
A one-page flyer providing information regarding the benefits of peer mentoring, who should be a peer mentor, and how to start a peer mentoring program.
- Peer Mentorship Program: FAQs
A tri-fold brochure that addresses commonly-asked questions regarding peer mentoring.
- Peer Mentoring: Terrie's Story
A 2:26 video in which a cancer patient tells how she came to be a peer mentor and how important and rewarding helping others can be.
IPRO’s ESRD Network Peer Mentor E-University Program offers patient peer mentor training. The online training is only available to facilities within Networks 1, 2, 6, and 9, but PDF versions of the following training materials are available to anyone.
About Peer Mentorship
- Key Talking Points for Facility Staff/Leadership
Use this tip sheet to introduce and build support for a peer mentoring program with your administrator, medical director, board of directors, or other leadership members.
- Program Management Guide
A detailed booklet that lays out the planning and implementation steps to successfully implement a peer mentoring program.
- Getting the Conversation Started
A four-page brochure that provides scenarios to help mentors overcome barriers when working with mentees and to keep the conversation going.
Topic-Specific Tools Peer Mentors Can Use When Talking to Other Patients
Here peer mentors will find tools and resources they can either print out and provide or share the links to when speaking to mentees about specific topics, including home dialysis, transplant, and vascular accesses.
Tools for Peer Mentors to Use When Talking About Home Dialysis
- Consider Your Dialysis Choices- Choosing the Right Option for You
- Kidney Failure - What are my Treatment Choices?
- Know the Facts About Home Dialysis Choices
Tools for Peer Mentors to Use When Talking About Transplant :
- Kidney Failure: What are my treatment choices?
- Is a Kidney Transplant Right for Me?
- Your Life, Your Choice: Transplant Stories
- Get the Facts on Kidney Transplantation
Flyer—English | Flyer—Spanish
Tools for Peer Mentors to Use When Talking About Vascular Access:
- Vascular Access Guide (Stoplight) Trifold Booklet
Tri-Fold Booklet—English I Tri-Fold Booklet—Spanish
- Vascular Access Planning Guide for Professionals
- Lifeline for a Lifetime: Planning for Your Vascular Access
Booklet—English I Booklet—Spanish
- Questions or Concerns About a Permanent Access? Let’s Talk
- Vascular Access Comparisons: Fistula, Graft, Catheter
Flyer—English I Flyer—Spanish
- It Only Takes a Minute to Save Your Lifeline. Look, Listen Feel Guide
The Kidney Foundation of Central Pennsylvania Patient & Family Partner Program trains and certifies volunteers who have experienced kidney failure themselves, or who have been part of the support team for a loved one with kidney failure, to serve as Certified Partners (mentors) and provide support to patients and caregivers.
Since 2014, this program has been supported by a grant from PCORI (Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute) to Penn State College of Medicine to study the impact of peer mentoring on the quality of life of patients with CKD and their caregivers.
The Mendez National Institute of Transplantation One-on-One Kidney Transplant Education Program provides patients with personalized one-on-one education and support from specially trained organ transplant recipients known as peer educators.
Offered in both English and Spanish, the program takes place at dialysis centers and aims at helping patients to make informed decisions about pursuing transplantation. The program emphasizes the life-long responsibility of caring for a transplanted kidney, the importance of being proactive in health care, the overall transplant process and living donation.
Midwest Kidney Network’s Peer Mentoring Tools include a patient manual with self-reflection tools. These tools allow the mentor to be more self-aware of his or her own communication style and emphasize how communication styles can impact the relationship between a mentor and a mentee.
- Peer Coaching Manual
Organized by topic, the manual helps mentors to develop the skills needed to successfully coach others.
- Peer Coaching Coordinator Manual
This manual is designed to assist an individual to start a peer mentoring program.
- Peer Coaching Forms and Documentation
Includes a confidentiality form, a mentee consent form, program and coach evaluation forms, and a mentoring participation termination form.
The NKF Peers Program matches peer mentors with patient needs both telephonically and via an app that allows additional chat functionality and the ability for mentees to choose their own mentors. The program serves those who are in chronic kidney disease (CKD) Stages 4 and 5, those who are on dialysis (any modality), have a transplant, and are considering becoming or already are living donors. Anyone is eligible to join the online communities. Find relevant links to online communities, as well as forms for applying to join the program as a mentor or mentee below:
Quality Insights Renal Network 5’s Peer Up! Program offers an interactive program that facilities may use to train patients how to be successful peer mentors. Resources and strategies include a kick-off and celebration mixer.
Program Background and Overview
Here you will find background materials that can help an individual sample marketing and recruitment to adapt and implement the Peer Up! pilot program at his or her facility.
- Toolkit Cover
- Program Overview
- Benefits of using a peer mentoring program in your facility
- Highlights from an observational study of the Peer Up! pilot program
This section provides the tools needed to launched and manage a peer mentoring program.
- A staff guide highlighting planning/implementation steps, management tasks, resources, and program considerations
- A sample timeline/checklist
- Talking points to help you obtain buy-in from facility leaders
- PowerPoint presentation to provide an overview for staff and/or leadership
Recruitment and Retention
This section contains sample marketing and recruitment materials, as well as tips to help staff identify mentor leaders and introduce and draw patients to the program.
- Talking Points for Recruitment and Retention
- Program Flyer
- Program Postcard
- Program Brochure
- Staff Nomination Form
- Member Application (large font version)
Designed to prepare mentors to function effectively and confidently in their peer relationship. The manual includes planning steps, sample agendas, scripted facilitated learning activities, and handouts for the mentors in training.
- Training Manual
- Peer Mentoring Demonstration Video
- Guide for Mentors (8 1/2" X 11" size; 11X17" size; or pocket-size)
- Bingo Cards (8 1/2" X 11" size or 11X17" size)
- Confidentiality Agreement
- Sample Certificate
Patient Support Resources
This section contains materials related to supporting patients, as well as tips and strategies for peer management and overcoming challenges.
Assessment and Evaluation
Assessment and evaluation is an important part of any program. Find important survey and feedback forms in this section.
- Evaluation Guidance
- Self-Efficacy Survey
- Knowledge Survey
- Social Support Survey
- Dialysis Support Survey
- Self-Management Survey
- Health Related Quality of Life Survey
- Contact Log (large print version)
- Mentee Feedback Form
- Mentor Feedback Form
The University of Michigan Transplant Kidney Peer Mentor Program is founded on the concept of learning from the experiences of your peers. The mentors in the program are patients who have already successfully gone through transplant or those who donated a kidney.
Many patients find it helpful and reassuring to talk confidentially with those that have first-hand knowledge about the transplant experience. Working with a peer mentor is optional and is offered to all transplant candidates, potential donors and their families during the formal evaluation process.