Volunteering to Help Dialysis Patients

Whether you know someone on dialysis, have known someone on dialysis or would simply like to support the community of people on dialysis, there are many ways you can volunteer your time and talents to help this group of people who have chronic kidney disease (CKD). Also, if you are in need of volunteer work for a college application or resume, volunteering to help dialysis patients is a great way to spend your time. The following are easy and rewarding ways you can volunteer to help dialysis patients either on your own or through an organization.

Give someone a ride to dialysis

Some people on in-center hemodialysis may feel weak after their three- to four-hour dialysis treatments. These people would prefer to have someone drive them to and from dialysis because they may not feel safe behind the wheel after their dialysis treatments. Other patients may be elderly and unable to drive to their dialysis treatments or may not have a car. If you have a car and free time during the day, consider driving someone to and from the dialysis center for treatment. After dropping off a dialysis patient, you can spend your time running errands, going to a movie, reading in the waiting room or anything else you’d like to do until the dialysis session is over and it’s time to go home.

Lend a hand to a dialysis patient

All forms of dialysis take up a person’s time during either the day or night. This generally means that people on dialysis have less time during their days to do everything they need to do. Consider volunteering to help someone on dialysis with tasks such as mowing the lawn, washing the car, going to the grocery store, cleaning the house or doing homework. Lending a hand can take some of the pressure off people on dialysis and allow them some time during their day for things that they enjoy.

Make someone a kidney-friendly meal

People on dialysis generally have a different diet than people who do not have CKD, and cooking kidney-friendly meals can take some getting used to. Consider cooking a kidney-friendly meal for someone you know who is on a dialysis diet. Depending on you how much you enjoy cooking, you can make a simple dish or a complete meal from an appetizer to dessert. You can find recipes for kidney-friendly meals at DaVita.com/Recipes. This can be a great treat for any dialysis patient whether they live alone or have a family. If the person you know lives alone, consider preparing a large meal so there will be leftovers and he or she will get a break from cooking for a couple of days. As an extra treat, you may want to share the meal you’ve prepared with your friend who is on dialysis. Even though you may not be on a dialysis diet and have to watch your intake of potassium, phosphorus and sodium, you can still enjoy sharing a delicious, homemade, kidney-friendly meal.

Spend time with a dialysis patient

An illness, such as CKD, can take an emotional toll because it affects so many aspects of a person’s life. Sometimes people on dialysis would just like to spend time with other people and not think about CKD or their medical condition for awhile. They might enjoy simply getting out and going for a walk, playing a game, watching a movie or going for a car ride. If you know someone on dialysis, consider spending some time with him or her when your schedule is free. Take your friend to their favorite park for a stroll, rent a movie, go to a beach, lake or other scenic area, cook together or do something else that you both would like to do.

Raise or donate money for kidney patients

If you have a talent for organizing fundraisers or community events, consider heading up a fundraiser to donate money to the kidney care charity of your choice. If you’d like to participate in something fun and physical to raise money for kidney disease, consider being a part of a DaVita Kidney Awareness Run | WalksTM or another walk that benefits kidney disease. Walks are a great way to get some exercise while raising money through personal and corporate sponsorships. If you find that you’d like to help dialysis patients, but don’t have the time to volunteer, consider donating money to kidney disease research, a kidney care foundation or a specific person you know with kidney disease that may need monetary support.

Become a Village Greeter at a DaVita dialysis center

DaVita offers a program for people in the community to volunteer at local DaVita dialysis centers to help dialysis patients. The DaVita Village Greeter program gives care partners, friends and family members of dialysis patients, as well as anyone else who has free time and is interested, the chance to get involved at his or her local DaVita dialysis center. DaVita Village Greeters must be at least 16 years old and must complete the registration process. A background check is required for all applicants 18 years old or older. DaVita Village Greeters set their own schedules so they come to the clinic as often or as little as they like.

DaVita Village Greeter volunteer activities include:

  • Greeting and visiting with patients and family members in the waiting room before and after dialysis treatments
  • Helping plan theme days and celebrations
  • Reading, calling Bingo or keeping company with patients receiving treatment (with the approval of the dialysis center’s Facility Administrator)
  • Sending birthday cards and serving birthday cakes
  • Keeping the floor in the waiting room free of obstacles and hazards
  • Monitoring patients in the waiting room and alerting the care team if dialysis patients need assistance
  • Handing out educational materials approved by the center
  • Watering plants
  • Keeping the coffee service stands filled

If you have free time and are interested in helping dialysis patients through the DaVita Village Greeter program, please call the PEP Department at (310) 536-2623, or send an email to villagegreeter@davita.com. You can also stop into a nearby DaVita dialysis center and ask to talk to the Facility Administrator. You can find a DaVita dialysis center in your neighborhood using the Find a Dialysis Center tool on DaVita.com.

Become a Dialysis Patient Citizens (DPC) Patient Ambassador

Dialysis Patient Citizens (DPC) is the largest dialysis patient organization in America. A nationwide, nonprofit, patient-led organization with free membership open to all dialysis and pre-dialysis patients and their families, DPC works to improve the quality of life for all dialysis patients through education and advocacy.

DPC Patient Ambassadors are dialysis or pre-dialysis patients or family members who volunteer to represent DPC by being leaders in their communities and local dialysis facilities. One of the primary responsibilities of a DPC Patient Ambassador is to provide dialysis patients with the education, access and confidence to be their own advocates.

DPC provides all the training, tools, materials and support needed for Patient Ambassadors to:

  • Build a relationship with their legislators
  • Invite members of Congress and/or district staff to visit their dialysis facility
  • Respond to DPC Action Alerts and distribute them to other patients and families
  • Contact their members’ Washington, D.C. offices at least three times per year
  • Educate fellow patients and members of their community
  • Distribute articles and other educational materials to the patients in their clinic and be prepared to answer non-medical questions
  • Educate their community on kidney disease
  • Recruit new DPC members and mobilize patients to advocate for their care

Benefits to being a DPC Patient Ambassador include:

  • Recognition as a leader in their community
  • Potential to visit Washington, D.C. for Washington DPC Advocacy Days (all expenses covered by DPC)
  • Potential visits to their state house to participate in State Advocacy Days (all expenses covered by DPC)
  • Monthly educational and strategy conference calls, including insider’s reports on political and legislative developments in the nation’s capitol and opportunities to share best practices with fellow Ambassadors

Dialysis Patient Citizens Patient Ambassador applicants must be current dialysis patients, pre-dialysis patients or family members interested in acting on behalf of dialysis and pre-dialysis patients to improve the quality of life for all patients. Desirable skills include experience or strength in advocacy, public speaking and good writing skills. Applicants must also be supportive of DPC’s mission and charter. Learn more about DPC at www.dialysispatients.org.

Get involved with the National Kidney Foundation

The National Kidney Foundation (NKF) has volunteer opportunities available through local affiliates in your area. If you’d like to make a difference in the lives of dialysis patients, but prefer a behind-the-scenes role, a volunteer position with the NKF is a great choice. As a volunteer for the NKF, you can assist with local programs or events, participate in surveys, write articles, help create brochures and get involved in current legislative efforts regarding kidney disease. Check the National Kidney Foundation website for local volunteer positions.

Summary

Volunteering is a great way to get involved in the kidney care community and make a difference in the lives of people on dialysis. If you would like to volunteer, use one of the ideas in this article or talk to someone you know on dialysis and see what you can offer him or her with your time, unique talents and compassion.

External articles

Download a Cookbook

Get a free recipe collection from the DaVita® kitchen.

Get the Cookbooks

No-Cost Kidney Health Classes

Find a no-cost, in-person class near you.

Find a Class

Find a Dialysis Center

Advanced Search

Call 1-800-424-6589 now to talk to one of our placement specialists.

New to Dialysis?

Learn which DaVita service may best fit your lifestyle.

Explore Options
Back to Top