Patient Education - Kidney Health Education and Research Group

Patient Education

Explore Transplant Ontario is an education program designed for Ontarians with kidney failure, along with their families, friends, and potential living donors. Its purpose is to help them learn about kidney disease, dialysis and transplant as well as explain the available kidney transplant options. Through education, this program hopes to help those living with kidney failure to make well-informed decisions about their treatment.

Why is patient education important?

Education helps patients make informed decisions about their treatment and disease management. Our education program is especially designed to help them decide whether a transplant is right for them. This is an important decision that affects the patient, as well as their families, friends, and others in their life.
Education can help them decide and discuss transplant options, an important consideration in the face of the ongoing shortage in transplantable kidneys from deceased donors. Ontario is experiencing a shortage as the demand exceeds the number of kidneys available. More than 11,000 Ontarians have end-stage kidney disease and require renal replacement therapy – either dialysis or a kidney transplant from a deceased or living donor – in order to live. This number increases each year as our population ages and more and more people are living with chronic and end-stage kidney. Currently the wait time in Ontario for a deceased donor kidney transplant is about 4-5 years.
An alternative is receiving a kidney from a living donor. This can potentially shorten a patient’s wait time to 1 year of less. The decision between these different renal replacement therapies is an important one and is better made when patients understand them and are well-informed. Our education program seeks to accomplish that.

What’s included?

Explore Transplant Ontario consists of a package of resources, leaflets, and videos on topics and issues central to kidney transplantation. Topics cover:

  • What is a kidney transplant?
  • Why should I consider one?
  • Is staying on dialysis better for me?
  • What are the risks and benefits of transplant and living donation?
  • And more

Is it helpful?

Explore Transplant Ontario was adapted from the successful American Explore Transplant program developed by Dr. Amy Waterman, which has been used to educate more than 28,000 kidney patients in the United States. Our program adapted it to fit the needs of patients in Ontario and our research shows promising results. In a recent pilot study of the Explore Transplant Ontario program in the dialysis units of two Ontario hospitals, using the program improved patients’ knowledge of their transplant options and their belief in their ability to access appropriate treatment.

Learn more about the Explore Transplant Ontario program

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