Support Required To Encourage Patients With End Stage Kidney Disease To Return to Work Interview with:

Wendy Tan Senior Medical Social Worker Medical Social Work The National Kidney Foundation

Wendy Tan

Wendy Tan
Senior Medical Social Worker
Medical Social Work
The National Kidney Foundation What is the background for this study?

Response: End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) patients experience significant changes to their daily routine and lifestyle. Their time and attention were often centred solely on their sickness whilst receiving treatment accentuating the employment isolation.

This study determined the need for extra support to assist patients adjust (e.g. learning about their psychological wellbeing, change of role and mindset, suitable work conditions and employment support) in returning to work. It also sheds light on how individuals perceive the particular situations they are facing, how they are making sense of their health conditions and the society at large in relations to seeking continued employment. What are the main findings?

(1) Working patients recognised the improvement in their condition from their physical ability to do more work, and by them having to visit the hospital less often. By having a job, patients’ attention is diverted way from their existing problems. This allows them to feel motivated, more energetic and a sense of purpose in life.

(2) Patients attempted to make the most of the present moment. They showed gratitude and appreciate new friendships that influenced their lives for the better. The intrinsic value of gainful employment has given patients new perspectives in life that monetary gain is less important than to be able to contribute to the society.

(3) Multiple rejections can become a major hurdle for patients from making progress. The greater the extent the patient anticipates failure or setbacks, the more likely it is to elicit fear and lower self-esteem, along with a growing sense of difficulties in carrying out tasks. What should readers take away from your report?

· Prolonged employment isolation impairs patients’ confidence and motivation in seeking gainful employment. This explains why it is important to develop employment preparatory program to adjust their mindset, and provide access to trainings to widen their job options.

· Patients do not care about the remunerations or job prospects. They displayed strong
desire to return to work as they are able to stay connected (new friendships) and spend their time purposefully without feeling lonely and incapable.

· Rehabilitation services in supporting patients to find jobs are in need of continuous improvement. Much effort is needed to enhance the support systems (i.e. hiring partners and local communities) to strengthen the employability of ESRD patients. What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: Specific evidence gaps exist around patients of different age groups and educational backgrounds. For instance, older patients who have been unemployed for a long period of time can find it extremely challenging in seeking employment and may also take longer time to pick up new skills. Future research could help to develop age-specific trainings and validate the program success by reviewing the extent of accessibility and work sustainability. Future studies could also provide evidence of the effectiveness and feasibility of providing work trial period and job retention incentives for patients who lack the relevant qualifications or job experience. Thank you for your contribution to the community.


NKF 2017 abstract:
Note: Content is Not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider regarding your specific medical condition and questions.

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Last Updated on May 3, 2017 by Marie Benz MD FAAD