On October 5, 2017 at Toronto General Hospital, our research team hosted the first in a series of focus groups involving participants in our Psychosocial and Ethnocultural Barriers to Living Donor Kidney Transplantation (LDKT) project. The purpose of these small discussion groups is to better understand the barriers and challenges experienced by people living with end stage kidney disease (ESKD) as they make decisions about what renal replacement therapies to pursue—that is, some form of dialysis versus deceased donor or living donor kidney transplant. Dr. Marta Novak and Dr. Rinat Nissim facilitated this session which brought together four participants.
The ages of our focus group participants spanned five decades. From the anecdotes they shared, it was clear that their decision making about kidney transplant was shaped by different considerations at different ages. A 35-year-old with chronic kidney failure may find dialysis treatments extremely disruptive to their routines and their ability to work, and yet may also be quite concerned about outliving the typical lifespan of a transplanted kidney. A 70-year-old retiree might not find that dialysis affects their ability to work, but while a single kidney transplant might serve them well for the rest of their lifespan, they may be reluctant to approach younger family members or friends to be potential living kidney donors.
We sincerely thank our participants for sharing their experiences and insights. Our team will be organizing further focus groups selected from communities that research has shown are less likely than others to pursue kidney transplant (especially LDKT), including South Asian, South East Asian and Muslim Canadians.