Children battling with kidney disease are forced to lead very different lives than other kids their age. They have rigid diet restrictions, physically look different and constantly feel sick. Because dialysis treatment requires a large time commitment, the patients miss out on school and many other social interactions at least three times a week. This can truly wear on the kids emotionally, causing them to be depressed and less compliant with their treatment plans.
Although the Cavett Kids Foundation may not be able to cure the disease or make the pain disappear, we can be creative in the ways in which we encourage our patients here at the OU Children’s Hospital. Currently, we are partnering with the Pediatric Dialysis Unit in creating some innovative methods to motivate patients to live healthier, happier lives. Together, we have developed a Dialysis Rewards Program with the ultimate goal being the encouragement of responsibility and teaching of healthy behaviors through positive reinforcement.
With this program, patients earn “Dialysis Dollars” by being compliant with their treatment plans on a regular basis. For example, when the medical staff routinely monitors the patient’s fluid, phosphorus and potassium levels, they can compare the results to previous levels and give the patients Dialysis Dollars for positive improvements. Ultimately the patients can buy a little something each month or save up and spend their Dialysis Dollars on something BIG! With this program, the children feel empowered by the program and are more motivated by having tangible goals to attain.