Living Kidney Donors Network Workshop


The primary goal of Living Kidney Donors Network Workshop is to educate people in need of a kidney transplant so they understand the facts about living donation and have the skills to effectively communicate the information to others. The following outlines the material covered in the three hour Workshop.

The Workshop is divided into 2 main sections. The first section focuses on educating participants on living donation. This part is set in a traditional classroom. Ideal class size will be 15. The second section focuses on how to be effective in communicating your need and to practice communications skills. It includes ideas on how to reach out, (“network”) so more people are aware of your need. The communications segment is presented in small groups of 5 and is lead by a coach who is a trained volunteer. Coaches are kidney transplant recipients or donors. Peer assisted learning has proven to be a very effective model.

Educational Component

Individuals in need of a kidney transplant will be more successful expressing their need if they have more knowledge about the living transplant process. Approximately half of the program’s time is devoted to presenting this information.  Topics of discussion include:

  • Overview of Kidney Transplantation – history, why there is a need, statistics, legal, living donation options, etc.
  • Benefits of Living vs. Deceased Donor Transplants
  • Review of the different types of living donation, i.e. related, non-related etc.
  • Myths and misconceptions
  • Social and Psychological Concerns
  • Becoming your own Medical Advocate
  • Understanding Donor/Recipient Matching

Communications/Networking Component

This segment will make use of the balance of the program time. Having knowledge about living transplants is critical. Good communication skills will increase the likelihood of success when speaking to people about their transplant need.
The class divides up into the small breakout groups with a coach for each group. The coaches will establish a relaxed environment where everyone can easily express themselves. The coach will share his/her experience and the other group members will briefly share their story. Everyone will be encouraged to share their current situation and any concerns they have about pursuing living donation.

The coach will generally follow an outline (listed below) modified by any special needs that arise in the group.

The following are examples of some of the topics that are discussed.

  • Importance of Communication
  • Identifying & Overcoming Challenges
  • What to Say…and Practicing
  • Key Words to use when speaking to people
  • Networking or ways to get your message out
  • Becoming more involved in your community
  • The importance and value of having an Advocate(s)

Each person will be given an opportunity to practice (or role play) a situation where they are telling a family member or friend about their need. The Coach will start off the process (modeling best practices) and feedback will be provided by group members and the Coach.

After these presentations, the Coach will provide additional suggestions on how everyone can improve their communication skills and other helpful resources.

During the breakout sessions, a Leader will mingle around the groups and serve as an additional resource for any Coach who needs help. Each Coach will provide the Leader with information to be reviewed in the final wrap up session.

During the wrap up session there will be a brief summary of lessons learned and key take away items for the participants, such as developing their own Getting Starting outline. 

Participants will be encouraged to maintain a connection with their group members and other people they’ve met in the class. They are encouraged to go to the Living Kidney Donors Network website to use the Bulletin Board to share their successes and challenges and use others as a support group.
After the class, participants should have the following knowledge and skills:

  • A good understanding of the transplant process and issues relating to the recipient and donor.
  • The information they need to develop their own strategies and to respond to someone who offers to donate.
  • The verbal skills and the resources that will allow them to be effective in presenting their need.
  • The comfort of knowing that they can call upon a Coach, Advocate or someone they’ve met in the class who can provide them with additional support.

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Harvey Mysel, Founder & President

Harvey established the LKDN after recognizing the need for better resources while pursuing a successful living kidney transplant in 2006. Our purpose is to share knowledge and build the confidence to enable the life changing benefits of living donation. Click here to learn more about Harvey.

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