Abstract: TH-PO983

Experiences of Kidney Transplant Recipients as Patient Navigators

Session Information

Category: Transplantation

  • 1702 Transplantation: Clinical and Translational


  • Huml, Anne M., Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio, United States
  • Dolata, Jacqueline, MetroHealth Medical Center, Cleveland, Ohio, United States
  • Sehgal, Ashwini R., Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio, United States
  • Sullivan, Catherine M., MetroHealth Medical Center, Cleveland, Ohio, United States
  • Perzynski, Adam T., MetroHealth Medical Center, Cleveland, Ohio, United States
  • Barnswell, Kitty V, University Of Louisville, Louisville, Kentucky, United States
  • Greenway, Kate A, Comprehensive Transplant Center, The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, Salem, Virginia, United States
  • Kamps, Cindy, University of Kentucky, Richmond, Kentucky, United States
  • Marbury, Marquisha, MetroHealth Medical Center, Cleveland, Ohio, United States
  • Pencak, Julie A, MetroHealth Medical Center, Cleveland, Ohio, United States
  • Wilson, Derrick L, Luthren Hospital Kidney Transplant Center, Fort Wayne, Indiana, United States

The use of trained kidney transplant recipients as patient navigators resulted in increased completion in steps in the transplant process by dialysis patients (1). We sought to understand the experiences of these patient navigators.


Six kidney transplant recipients were hired and employed by transplant centers in Cleveland, OH, Columbus, OH, Fort Wayne, IN, Lexington, KY, and Louisville, KY. The transplant navigators received formal training as peer educators, met with dialysis patients on a regular basis, and provided tailored education and assistance about transplantation to each patient. In addition, they worked closely with the pre-transplant coordinators and social workers to learn the details of each patient’s transplant work-up. We queried navigators using open-ended questions delivered by email to learn about their experiences. We used qualitative analyses to compile and code navigator responses and identify and categorize common themes. A thematic auditor reviewed and refined the coding.


Two primary categories of themes emerged from the data about the navigator experience: 1) practical comments that supported programmatic or implementation observations of the navigators, and 2) affective comments that reflected a shared experience among the navigators and patients. The navigators were able to fill voids in the transplantation and dialysis care process that were not fulfilled by other dialysis caregivers. This was accomplished by a natural bond based upon a shared experience (of dialysis and kidney failure) between the navigator and the patient. The patient and navigator effectively were experiential partners.


Kidney transplant recipients trained as patient navigators fill the role of a non-traditional medical provider, offer support during the transplant process, and from the navigator perspective, provide an added-benefit to complement routine dialysis and nephrology care.

1. Sullivan C, Leon JB, Sayre S, et al. Impact of navigators on completion of steps in the kidney transplant process: a randomized, controlled trial. Clin J Am Soc Nephrol. 2012 Oct 5; 7(10): 1639–1645.


  • NIDDK Support