Perspectives of a proposed patient navigator programme for people with chronic kidney disease in rural communities: Report from national workshops

Nicole Scholes-Robertson, Martin Howell, Simon A. Carter, Karine E. Manera, Andrea K. Viecelli, Chanel Chong, Eric Au, Andrea Matus-Gonzalez, Anita van Zwieten, Donna Reidlinger, Chad Wright, Kelli Owen, Jonathan C. Craig, Allison Tong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
35 Downloads (Pure)


Aims: People who live in rural areas have reduced access to appropriate and timely healthcare, leading to poorer health outcomes than their metropolitan-based counterparts. The aims of the workshops were to ascertain participants' perspectives on barriers to access to dialysis and transplantation, to identify and prioritize the roles of a rural patient navigator, to discuss the acceptability and feasibility of implementing this role and identify possible outcomes that could be used to measure the success of the programme in a clinical trial. 

Methods: Rural patients (n = 19), their caregivers (n = 5) and health professionals (n = 18) from Australia participated in three workshops. We analysed the data using thematic analysis. 

Results: We identified four themes related to access to dialysis and transplantation: overwhelmed by separate and disconnected health systems, unprepared for emotional toll and isolation, lack of practical support and inability to develop trust and rapport. Four themes related to the role of the patient navigator programme: valuing lived experience, offering cultural expertise, requiring a conduit, and flexibility of the job description. The key roles prioritized by participants were psychological support and networking, provision/consolidation of education, and provision of practical support.

Conclusion: Rural patients, caregivers and health professionals believed that programmes that include navigators with lived experience of dialysis and kidney transplantation and cultural expertise, especially for Aboriginal Australians, may have the potential to improve patient experiences in accessing healthcare.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)886-896
Number of pages11
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2022


  • chronic kidney disease
  • dialysis
  • patient navigator
  • rural
  • transplantation


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