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At the Alliance, we believe all patients with kidney disease, kidney donors, and healthcare providers want to see increased transplantation rates and fewer people on dialysis. If all stakeholders operated with a ‘Transplant First’ mentality, many more people would be able to receive successful transplants and avoid years or even a lifetime on dialysis.

When properly informed, patients and living donors are uniquely and strongly positioned to be part of the solution to many of the barriers in accessing transplant. Some important advocacy issues we are working on include:

Transplant 1st Campaign

A radical system-wide reform of the Canadian healthcare system that prioritizes kidney transplant as the best treatment for kidney failure, is urgently needed to optimize every patient’s chance to receive a kidney transplant and every donor’s opportunity to donate.

This new kidney care model centred on transplant as the first and best treatment for kidney failure would save thousands of lives and realize billions of dollars in health care costs related to dialysis, including disability benefits, lost work productivity, increased financial burden on patients and families, and countless other social service support costs.

Why are Living Donor Transplant Surgeries Elective Surgeries in Ontario?

Kidney Donation (living and deceased) can save the healthcare system billions of dollars – but it happening for only 10% of kidney patients. A trans­plant also costs the healthcare system less—over a 5-year period, every 100 kidney transplants save the healthcare system about $20 million in averted hospital-based dialysis costs (Canadian data). As the best possible treatment which only few kidney patients achieve, living kidney donor transplant should not be an elective surgery as it currently is in Ontario and other provinces in Canada.

Even though kidney transplants are generally lifesaving, these surgeries remain categorized as “elective” and have been put on hold several times throughout the pandemic. What has been the impact on kidney patients? How many of those transplants will never be rescheduled because the potential recipient became too sick or the donor or the donated organ is no longer available?

Patients, Kidney Donors and their families have a right to understand what best practices their hospitals or transplant centre is following and how they perform compared to other hospitals. 

Patients and donors are often surprised to learn that renal and transplant hospitals don’t necessarily follow the same health care processes when it comes to renal or transplant care. For example, some hospitals work up more than one donor at a time, which is the recommended best practice according to publihsed literature, while others do not. What practice does your hospital follow? If you are trying to find a living donor, that is important information you should have.

We are advocating for transparency, consistency and standardization of kidney and transplant care policies and processes that are in line with published, best practice research so that patients and donors can reasonably expect to receive the best care no matter which hospital they attend or where they live. Failing standardized kidney and transplant care, patients and donors must have access to this information so they can make informed decisions about which hospital they want to receive care, and how to best advocate for themselves and their loved-ones.

How can the silos between renal and transplant departments be broken down to save money and improve patient care?

Sharing resources and removing silos between renal and transplant departments is desperately needed to provide optimal patient care for kidney patients, increase transplant numbers, and make the best use of the financial savings realized as transplant numbers increase, and dialysis numbers decrease.