Help & Support

Tyneside Kidney Patients Association

Peer Support

Peer support aims to provide support for kidney patients, their families or carers by providing an opportunity to talk to an experienced kidney patient on a one-to-one basis.

Who are peer supporters?

Peer supporters are unpaid kidney patient volunteers. They have completed formal training to offer one-to-one support and have undergone a number of checks – including a criminal records check – to enable them to do this.

How can I meet a peer supporter?

Should you require information on Peer Support, please contact Karin Tapson at Karin.Tapson@nuth.nhs.uk

Will I have anything in common with my supporter?

Yes: you will share your common experiences as a kidney patient. If you wish, you can ask to be put in touch with someone of a similar age or background, or someone undergoing a specific type of treatment.

Can I request peer support at any time?

Of course, like a kidney patient, there may be times when you might want to talk to a peer supporter, such as...

- When you're first given your diagnosis

- When you're considering treatment choices

- Or any time that you feel it may be helpful to talk to another patient.

Is peer support confidential?

All discussions between yourself and the peer supporter will be treated respectively.

However, the peer supporter is obliged to speak to a kidney doctor or nurse if they feel that you or someone else is at risk of harm.

What can peer supporters not offer?

Peer supporters cannot offer advice about medical treatments. You should get medical advice from a health professional such as:

Your GP

Your kidney doctor

Your kidney nurse

Or an appropriate member of the healthcare team.

Unfortunately, peer supporters can't offer counselling. Professional psychological help and counselling are available through the healthcare team or by contacting the renal unit.

The service is offered to patients when they attend the pre-dialysis education session with the Specialist Nurse. Patient information leaflets are available from the Specialist Nurse.

Renal Social Workers

What we do and how we support renal patients...

There are three part-time Social Workers based in the Renal Unit at the Freeman Hospital.

They are Marian Wainwright, Ang Thompson and Corinne Nichol. Our work covers Ward 32 (in-patient ward), Ward 31 (dialysis ward), Renal Clinical Investigations Unit, Out-patients, all home dialysis patients (haemodialysis or peritoneal dialysis) and pre-dialysis patients.

The Social Workers are required to work within a statutory and legislative framework and are required to take into account both the patients and their carer’s needs. They're also responsible for understanding appropriate safeguarding procedures.

The Social Workers are part of a multi-disciplinary team in the renal unit and regularly discuss patients with other professionals within the renal unit to ensure that the appropriate services/support is being considered.

Most referrals come from nurses or doctors involved with patients but people can refer themselves to us.

The majority of referrals about patients on Ward 32 are made because patients may require an assessment for services to support them when they are discharged home. (It may be because the person has been struggling to manage at home or that they will need short-term support on discharge from hospital until they have recovered from their acute illness).

Patients who are referred from other parts of the unit may be referred because they are struggling to cope with their illness or physical condition.

They may be struggling financially and need assistance to apply for benefits or grants or may need information about moving to more appropriate accommodation. The Social Workers will consider the practical, social, emotional and psychological needs of the patient and other appropriate support where possible.

The Freeman Renal Unit is a regional unit and so the Social Workers regularly need to provide assessments for other local authorities or liaise with organisations across the North of England.

Occasionally, we are approached with questions or queries that we're unable to deal with ourselves, but in these situations, we will try and find out who would be an appropriate person to deal with the issue and pass on the information.

If anyone has any questions about the services that we provide, please do not hesitate to contact us in the following ways:

By Telephoning Newcastle Hospitals on (0191) 213 7393 and asking for the Renal Social Workers at the Freeman Hospital.

Email to socialworkadminFRH@newcastle.gov.uk
Fax to (0191) 285 3455
Post to Renal Social Worker, Adult Services Directorate.