Webinar recap: Ask a social worker

As you begin your journey with dialysis, it is common to feel a little overwhelmed. There is a lot of information to learn and many tough decisions to make. But you do not have to do it alone! Your social worker is there to guide you as you continue your fight against kidney disease. Social workers are a key member of your health care team who:

  • Provide emotional support
  • Voice your needs for better quality of care
  • Help you achieve your best quality of life
  • Connect you to helpful resources

Kathy Merritt, an experienced social worker at Satellite Healthcare, joined us for a live chat during a webinar and answered some of your questions about managing kidney disease. Here are some of the topics she covered; you can watch the full webinar online anytime.

Emotional support

Dialysis and transplant can be hard to deal with for you and your loved ones. Sometimes, your mental health can affect your ability to follow your treatment plan. Social workers can help you better understand your feelings and help address some of the challenges you are facing. It is important to be open with your social worker so they can provide you with the best advice.

Resources for caregivers

Finding balance is key for caregivers. Ask your social worker what local agencies offer support to caregivers. A dialysis center near you may have caregiver support groups. The National Alliance for Caregiving also has resources for friend and family caregivers across the country.

Financial support

If you need help paying for dialysis, there are federal, state and charitable financial assistance programs available. The American Kidney Fund’s financial assistance program can help you pay for health insurance, medicines, or getting to dialysis. Your social worker can tell you what programs you qualify for and how to apply.

Employment

If you want to keep working or find a job, every state has a vocational rehabilitation office. You may also qualify for the Ticket to Work program. Talk to your social worker about how you can use these resources to help you meet your goals and get back on track to building your career.
You are strong for fighting kidney disease, and your social worker is there for you every step of the way if you need more support! To learn more about social workers and the resources available to you, watch our full webinar.

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About the Author(s)

Stephanie Tham

Stephanie Tham is a public education intern at the American Kidney Fund.

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