Dr Jan Gough
Director of Patient Support Services, Kidney Care UK
Whilst most of the general population saw freedoms last summer, many kidney patients were unable to come out of their isolation and we know this has had a huge impact on physical and mental wellbeing.
Many people with kidney disease would not like to think of themselves as being extremely vulnerable; but as part of the group considered clinically extremely vulnerable to COVID-19, thousands of kidney patients have been shielding for more than a year.
Impact of the pandemic
Over the last year, thousands of people living with kidney disease have stated that the pandemic had disrupted their kidney care (56%) and almost four in 10 felt that their overall health had declined (38%).1
Understandably, emotional wellbeing ranked highly on patients’ lists of worries with nearly seven in 10 (68%) wanting continued mental health support to help them cope. While many in the general population were looking forward to shops, pubs and leisure facilities being open and being able to socialise in larger groups, just 11% of kidney patients were looking forward to having the same freedoms as everyone else.
Over the last year, thousands of people living with kidney disease have stated that the pandemic had disrupted their kidney care (56%) and almost four in 10 felt that their overall health had declined (38%).
Adjusting to a new normal
Fortunately, charities within the kidney care sector have shown extraordinary efforts to help to ensure full support is offered to everyone who needs it throughout the pandemic. We know that our services will become even more important as we move towards a ‘new normal’.
Although the world is starting to open up again for many, huge numbers of people living with kidney disease still face challenges. Through our services, support has been provided to 4,293 kidney patients and their families through direct patient support services in 2020.
More of us will need help to readjust following an extensive period of shielding and social distancing; as a charity we will adapt our support to meet people’s changing needs, but always retain at the heart of all our decisions what is most important to people who use the services we offer.