Based at the renal and transplant unit part of the OUH hospitals, Oxford young adult clinic is a unique support service for young adults diagnosed with kidney failure within the Thames valley region. The clinic aims to reduce isolation, help facilitate acceptance of diagnosis, dialysis or transplantation, reduce denial and make life saving organ transplants last for many years.
Through community clinics outside the hospital setting, social events, specialized clinics, a transition service link with pediatric services and specialist support, the Oxford YAC helps young people deal with their kidney disease and get on with their lives. The service is run by lead consultant nephrologist and transplant physician Paul Harden and Youth worker Daley Cross. Our youth worker reaches out into the community providing 1:1 support to young adult transplant recipients, dialysis patients and renal patients helping with problems requiring increased support, such as confidence issues and adherence with medication problems. The service has been around for 10 years going from strength to strength, currently supporting 160 young patients. Its origin came from the noticeable poor outcomes in teenagers moving from pediatric to adult care where around one in three were losing their transplants within 3 years of their transfer. This lead to the setting up of an integrated transition service from paediatric to adult clinical services for young people with kidney failure, and in the process establishing a youth-friendly type of adult care. It was felt it was important for young patients to be engaged with their health care and be around other young people developing a peer support network.
The unique elements of the service are making a huge difference to the lives of young people affected by renal failure, making their transplants last years longer and by helping them build confidence and self-esteem to allow them to achieve in education and employment together with re-building damaged social skills. This innovative service which provides an invaluable peer support network for young adults is funded entirely through donation and fundraising events. Although the young adult clinic is its separate entity, it is not an independent charity and falls under the Oxford kidney unit trust fund. Funds raised are then channeled to the Oxford young adult clinic.