The American Kidney Fund (AKF) held its fourth annual Kidney Action Week from March 20-24. Kidney Action Week is a virtual, week-long series of live education sessions that aims to connect people living with kidney disease, caregivers and healthcare providers in AKF's on-going efforts to bring patient-centered education to the public. Kidney Action Week 2023 was hosted during National Kidney Month and included 18 sessions. The sessions were grouped into five themes for each day of the week: Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) 101, Treatments, Nutrition & Wellness, Patient Experience and Advancements. This year, two interactive workshops were also introduced to the agenda. Attendees had the option of completing a separate registration to attend a Zoom workshop on how to prepare a renal-friendly dinner or how to publicly share their journeys with kidney disease.
Missed this year's Kidney Action Week? We have you covered! All sessions were recorded and can be viewed at any time on AKF's YouTube channel and can be watched with closed captioning. Here are a few sessions you may be interested in watching:
Renal dietitians are experts in diet and nutrition for people living with kidney disease. They help people make healthy food and fluid choices, while providing guidance in creating a meal plan that best suits your nutritional needs.
Renal dietitians Kathy Wong and Melanie Betz answered audience questions about kidney-friendly eating throughout the session. Key points discussed include the differences between dietitians and nutritionists, how to identify foods that have high potassium levels and maintaining a kidney-friendly diet as a frequent traveler.
A kidney transplant from a living donor will last 15 to 20 years in comparison to a deceased donor, which lasts 10 to 15 years on average. Each year, about 40 percent of kidney donations are from living donors. Although there are more benefits to this transplant option, it can be challenging to find a living kidney donor.
In this session, social worker Hannah Graves joined kidney donor and recipient pairs as they shared their personal experiences of living donation. Hannah shared information on the different types of kidney donations, including paired exchange. The panelists shared their insights on how to find and ask for a living donation. For example, Jonathon Seidl, a kidney donor, also shared the importance of not only asking people to get tested to determine if they are a match, but also requesting them to share your message with others to help you find your perfect match.
Although grief is usually associated with the loss of a loved one, it can also occur after receiving a chronic disease diagnosis. In this new session topic, social workers Elle Lee and Julie Spears discussed the different dimensions of grief impacting someone living with kidney disease, explained the effect this can have on mental health, and shared helpful tools for healing and finding balance.
Elle Lee provided an engaging presentation on the link between kidney disease and mental health. She advised that our mental health is just as important as our physical health, as well as learning as much as you can about your diagnosis so that you are empowered to collaborate with your healthcare team. Julie Spears shared her insights on the role of grief after kidney disease diagnosis. She noted that while it may be difficult to overcome grief and kidney disease, it is important to acknowledge your feelings and take steps to move forward in your healing journey.
The fifth annual Kidney Action Week will be held during National Kidney Month in March 2024. For more information on other AKF events, follow us on Facebook or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kidney Action Week is made possible thanks to the support of our Presenting Sponsors Boehringer Ingelheim and Eli Lilly Company; Otsuka America Pharmaceutical, Inc. and U.S. Renal Care, Inc. Additional support is provided by Program Sponsors Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation and Travere Therapeutics, Inc.; Session Sponsors Aurinia Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and Satellite Healthcare.