Explore Transplant Ontario is part of the Enabling Access to Kidney Transplantation and Living Kidney Donation Strategy, a multicomponent initiative that aims to improve opportunities for, and access to, living donation and kidney transplantation for all chronic kidney disease (CKD) patients in Ontario, Canada. The initiative is comprised of four main components—data, education, transplant ambassadors, and administration—to support CKD programs, healthcare staff, patients, and their families. CKD and transplant centers will leverage the data they gather to foster their quality improvement culture, which includes improving the quality of reporting and the likelihood of acting on the reports.
The Explore Transplant Ontario educational program was adapted from the Explore Transplant program, which was developed in the United States by Dr. Amy Waterman to help pre-dialysis and dialysis patients and their families make informed choices about kidney transplant and living donation. It has been used successfully to educate more than 28,000 kidney patients in the U.S. Dr. Waterman worked with Dr. Istvan Mucsi and Dr. Marta Novak from the University of Toronto to design Explore Transplant Ontario specifically for and in partnership with the Ontario transplant and living donation community. Drs. Mucsi and Novak are leading the education pillar of the initiative.
Explore Transplant Ontario utilizes video and print education about kidney transplant and living donation for kidney transplant patients, their caregivers, potential living donors, and the public. The print materials were reviewed by Ontario transplant leaders, patients, living donors, and Health Literacy Media for medical accuracy and health literacy. The videos have stories of Ontario patients who are donating and undergoing transplant, and simple explanations of the medical processes involved with transplant and donation. Ontario physicians are represented on the videos. Patients who are in programs that choose to provide detailed discussions about kidney transplant and living donor kidney transplant using ETO will receive their education during their dialysis sessions or during their multidisciplinary care kidney clinic visits. Providers help patients design an action plan and take small steps related to dialysis or transplant that are right for him or her.
The Transplant Ambassador Program offers the opportunity for patients to interact with others who have had a similar illness experience and who demonstrate the fullness of life after a transplant or becoming a living kidney donor. The Transplant Ambassadors are a group of passionate donors and volunteers who make themselves available across the province to help reduce fear and empower people considering donation and transplantation.
A central administrative team will facilitate the implementation of the initiative and provide support for the CKD programs. There will also be funding allocated to CKD programs to finance the components of the initiative.