Journey to Transplant: Developing a social support network counselling intervention to improve kidney transplantation

Hannah D'Cunha, Melissa R Partin, Sophie Kurschner, Sauman Chu, Marilyn J Bruin, Warren T McKinney, Allyson Hart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Context: Kidney transplant is superior to dialysis for the treatment of end-stage kidney disease, but accessing transplant requires high patient engagement to overcome barriers. We sought to develop an educational counselling intervention for patients along with their social support networks to help patients access the waiting list. Methods: Utilizing an Intervention Mapping approach, we established a conceptual framework to develop a behavioural intervention that can be reproduced across kidney transplant centres. The approach includes needs assessment, identifying behavioural determinants and process objectives and integrating targeted behavioural change theory. Results: The Intervention Mapping process resulted in the development of a group counselling session, titled Journey to Transplant (JtT). This intervention was designed for kidney transplant candidates along with members of their social support networks and guided by a transplant healthcare professional. The session begins with standardized educational information to improve knowledge and normalize emotional barriers to transplant. This education is followed by a tailored counselling intervention, including the presentation of the individual patient's calculated likely outcomes on the kidney transplant waiting list. Finally, JtT incorporates patient and support network goal setting to address the specific barriers for that patient in accessing kidney transplantation. Conclusion: A systematic Intervention Mapping approach to develop the JtT intervention helps ensure the intervention is efficacious, acceptable and feasible for transplant centres to implement. JtT engages the patient's social support network, targeting known barriers to transplant and utilizing established behaviour change theory to motivate concrete actions to improve the likelihood of kidney transplantation. Patient or Public Contribution: This study includes a patient and family advisory committee comprised of kidney transplant candidates and their family members to guide the final language and content of the intervention guide, and the conduct of the implementation and pilot testing of the intervention. However, patients and family members were not involved in the intervention mapping development process itself described in this manuscript, which was informed by focus group data from patient and family study participants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-11
JournalHealth Expectations
StatePublished - Dec 23 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by the National Institutes of Health's National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, grant UL1TR002494. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health's National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences or the University of Minnesota.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Authors. Health Expectations published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


  • Intervention Mapping
  • counselling intervention
  • dialysis
  • end stage kidney disease
  • kidney transplant
  • living kidney donation
  • social support

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural


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