Befriending aims to provide
a support service for
renal patients by chatting
about living and coping with
The Service is available to patients at all
stages of renal disease including pre-dialysis,
dialysis, pre and post transplantation.
At any of these stages concerns
and worries can occur. Sharing these
concerns and worries with a patient or
carer who has had first hand knowledge
of such experiences and is both willing and
trained to help, often helps alleviate many of
Kidney patients’ families or carers are also
able to benefit from this service.
Surveys conducted by hospital staff aimed at
assessing patient response to befriending,
provides positive feedback. This information
indicates that the service is held in high
regard and is much valued by the patients
and carers involved.
Befriending helps new patients understand
that despite having to encounter difficulties
and continually facing fresh health
challenges, life goes on and that all is not lost
even though a chronic illness has been
This support service is provided by teams
of WKPA volunteers who are attached to
specific hospital renal units.
Volunteer Befrienders liaise with nursing
staff at the relevant units in addition to staff at
the psychological service based at the
Pentwyn unit in Cardiff.
Staff at participating renal Renal Units
organise a number of events to which
Befriender volunteers are invited and given
an opportunity to share experiences with new
patients. The format of such events often
differs slightly at each unit.
One-to-one sessions can be arranged and
in most cases it is possible to pair a patient
with a suitably matched befriender.
The Service is currently available at the
renal units in UHW Cardiff and at Morriston
The Befriending Service was initially
established and funded as a joint project by
the Welsh Kidney Patients Association
(WKPA) and the Department of Transplant
and Nephrology at University Hospital of
Wales (UHW), Cardiff.
The aim of the project was to provide a
service to support renal patients by involving
suitably experienced, trained WKPA
volunteers who were themselves renal
patients or carers.
All WKPA members wishing to become
volunteer Befrienders complete a one day
training course aimed at assessing their
psychological suitability and communication
skills in presenting their experiences to
patients and carers.
Training is organised by the Chronic
Kidney Disease Nurse Specialists and the
Department of Psychology attached to UHW
Once trained, a WKPA Befriender is
included on the approved Register of
Befrienders and as an authorised voluntary
worker with the relevant Health Board
If you need more information and advice on
how to receive the kind of help the
Befriending Service can offer, then contact us.