What is Befriending

  • Befriending aims to provide a support service for renal patients by chatting about living and coping with renal failure
  • 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 these concerns.
  • 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 diagnosed.
  • 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 Hospital, Swansea.
  • Background

  • 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 Cardiff.
  • Once trained, a WKPA Befriender is included on the approved Register of Befrienders and as an authorised voluntary worker with the relevant Health Board

Contact Us

If you need more information and advice on how to receive the kind of help the Befriending Service can offer, then contact us.


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