Journal Article Annotations
2023, 2nd Quarter
Annotations by Sahil Munjal, MD
Peer support has been associated with improved health-related outcomes (e.g., psychological well-being and treatment adherence) among patients with serious, chronic conditions, including kidney disease. Yet, there is little existing research evaluating the effects of peer support programs on health outcomes among patients with kidney failure being treated with kidney replacement therapy.
Following Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis (PRISMA) guidelines, we conducted a systematic review using five databases to assess the effects of peer support programs on health-related outcomes (e.g., physical symptoms, depression) among patients with kidney failure undergoing kidney replacement therapy.
Peer support in kidney failure was assessed across 12 studies (eight randomized controlled trials, one quasi-experimental controlled trial, and three single-arm trials) with 2893 patients. Three studies highlighted the links between peer support and improved patient engagement with care, while one found peer support did not significantly impact engagement. Three studies showed associations between peer support and improvements in psychological well-being. Four studies underscored the effects of peer support on self-efficacy and one on treatment adherence.
Despite preliminary evidence of the positive associations between peer support and health-related outcomes among patients with kidney failure, peer support programs for this patient population remain poorly understood and underutilized. Further rigorous prospective and randomized studies are needed to evaluate how peer support can be optimized and incorporated into clinical care for this vulnerable patient population.