Hunts psychologist backs better mental health for kidney patients

Dr Joe Chilcot and his team have looked at the published scientific literature into the mental health of kidney patients.

Dr Joe Chilcot and his team have looked at the published scientific literature into the mental health of kidney patients. - Credit: Kidney Research UK

A Huntingdon-based psychologist has joined a team of researchers to look at how to best support kidney patients who may be struggling with their mental health. 

Dr Joe Chilcot is investigating the most effective mental health assessment and treatment pathways available and how these vary across the UK. 

It comes as research found one in three kidney patients are thought to suffer with depression and anxiety due to the struggle of complex health needs. 

Dr Chilcot will work alongside a team at King’s College London with the University of Hertfordshire to write evidence-based guidelines to support improved mental health services for kidney patients at renal centres. 

They will look into the mental health support available at more than 70 renal services across the country to gather evidence on how to best support patients. 

The research is funded with a project grant of £220,000 from Kidney Research UK. 

Dr Chilcot said: “Our work will look at treatments options for kidney patients like talking therapies including cognitive behaviour therapy and medications.

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"We will interview staff and patients and, also look at all the published scientific evidence. 

“The majority of renal services have teams that deal with the psychological side of kidney disease, who do an incredible job.

"However, the size and provision of these teams varies significantly. 

“Often psychosocial support, whilst essential, is not well resourced to meet the challenges many people living with kidney disease face.

"We aim to understand how care is currently provided and determine what is working most successfully. 

“Once we have gathered all the evidence, we will draw up guidelines for the detection and management of depression and anxiety among kidney patients.” 

Dr Chilcot and his team have looked at the published scientific literature into the mental health of kidney patients. Next, they will survey staff and patients. It is hoped the project will be complete by 2023. 

Dr Aisling McMahon, executive director: research, innovation and policy, at Kidney Research UK, said: “Joe’s work is a really important first step as it will provide a much-needed comprehensive analysis of current mental health services for kidney patients in the UK and raise awareness of the problems people face.   

“We anticipate this evidence will be used to transform mental health treatments for kidney patients so they can receive correctly tailored mental health support.” 

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