For many people, having chronic kidney health problems is a difficult experience to face. The months leading up to and following a diagnosis can be a stressful time. This can be the case for the person with renal problems and also for anyone who cares about them. It can be a time of many changes from the way people normally live their lives, even though some of those changes may eventually turn out to be positive. Some people find adjusting to life after a transplant can also be challenging.
Getting the right sort of support throughout these times is important. Common emotional reactions to facing some parts of the medical treatments include feeling overwhelmed, fearful, depressed, trying to make sense of the diagnosis and its impact, and feeling irritable with others. Many people do work through this stage successfully and come to terms with the diagnosis.
What kind of problems could a Clinical Psychologist in the Renal Unit help you with?
A wide range of emotional problems, such as severe anxiety or stress, depression, feelings of loss and adjustment, and problems in relationships.
These problems are sometimes encountered when people are adjusting to and coping with some aspects of renal problems and their treatment, such as dialysis or transplant. They may also happen independently of renal problems, but make it harder for people to cope with the demands of renal problems and treatments. It can be helpful to have time to think about how to live well with the implications of the health problem(s).
There are Clinical Psychologists based at Southmead Hospital in the Renal & Transplantation Unit to help with these issues.
Who can be referred to a Clinical Psychologist?
If you think a Psychologist could help with difficulties you are facing, then ask your doctor or nurse to refer you.
In some circumstances, your referring doctor or nurse may have asked you to see a Psychologist to help him or her understand your problems more clearly. If this is the case, and you are happy to be seen, you will be offered one or two sessions in order to answer a number of specific questions. Following this, a report will be sent to your doctor/specialist nurse who will use this information when deciding – in consultation with you – on the most appropriate help for you.
Is there a limit to how long I can see a Psychologist for?
There is a time limit to how long you can see a Psychologist, and this will be decided with you and the Psychologist. Usually you will initially be offered 2-4 sessions to see if it is useful. Usually people go on to have between 5-10 sessions. Some people find it useful to meet for fewer session and some problems may require more input. The number of sessions depends on what seems most suitable and useful for each person.
How to contact us:
Clinical Psychology Service
Renal & Transplantation Directorate
Gate 10 Level 6
Westbury on Trym
0117 414 7696
If you or the individual you are caring for need support reading this leaflet please ask a member of staff for advice.
© North Bristol NHS Trust. This edition published July 2019. Review due July 2021. NBT002234