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A world first: Train-the-trainer curriculum for home dialysis

It seems obvious and simple enough: nurses who teach patients how to do home dialysis, should be trained how to best impart those skills. But when Professor Josephine Chow, from South West Sydney Local Health District, went looking for standardised and evidence-based “train the trainer curriculum and modules for home dialysis,” she found none.  Not in Australia. In fact, not anywhere.

“As far as I could see, this type of training has never been established anywhere in the world,” says Professor Chow.

The importance of training nurses to effectively teach home dialysis skills to patients cannot be understated.

“Specialist PD nurses train patients on how to do home dialysis but these nurses are not specialised trainers. Most have no formal qualification in teaching or an understanding of adult learning principles and how they might apply in different situations such as with patients from CALD backgrounds.

“By skilling up the nurse trainer, they can provide better training which ultimately results in better patient outcomes,” Professor Chow explains.

Armed with knowledge that no such training exists for nurses, Professor Chow worked with a core group of renal nurses from the HOME Network (THN) together with senior medical clinicians from the Australasian Kidney Trials Network (AKTN), eLearning curriculum developers from Western Sydney University, consumer representatives and education experts, to develop online training material utilising modern adult learning principles and best practice eLearning techniques, in line with the International Society of Peritoneal Dialysis guidelines.

Research into the effectiveness of this training material (Targeted Education ApproaCH to Improve Peritoneal Dialysis Outcomes – Cluster Randomised Controlled Trial (TEACH_PD CRCT) is going global with Liverpool Hospital being the first site to begin trials.

As the Global Co-Principal Investigator for this trial, Professor Chow and the Trial Steering Committee has secured funding of over $2.38 million from the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) to conduct trials across 33 PD units in Australia. The research team has also helped New Zealand secure $1.43 million in funding to conduct trials across 11 PD units in NZ.  Over 1500 patients across Australia and NZ will participate in this trial.

“In addition, we are currently working with Canadian and UK groups to help them secure funding for their sites.”

As research spreads around the globe, it is envisaged that the outcomes will bring significant positive outcomes for patients.

“We hope that the result will be better outcomes for patients with this intervention approach which, hopefully, will lead to Gold Standard training in this field with the ultimate goal of an increased uptake of home-based dialysis,” says Professor Chow.