Pilot Project Starts at Kidney Center

Patients at the Santa Barbara Artificial Kidney Center are finding that a good listener is a welcome friend during their thrice-weekly dialysis sessions. Under the guidance of Dr. Michael Fisher, one of the founders of the Kidney Center, pre-med students now bring some much-needed psychosociaL support to patients during the often painful, three to four hour dialysis treatments.
In October 1998, a special communications training session by Adventures in Caring at UCSB marked the beginning of the project. The five students who were selected went on to receive special clinical training from Dr. Fisher and his staff, in the particular needs and challenges faced by dialysis patients. The

Joey Jobrani, Adventures in Caring volunteer, jokes with Hallie White during her dialysis treatment. project is the first program (except for music therapy) by Adventures in Caring where the volunteers do not dress as Raggedy Ann & Andy. And it is proving to be a great success. Many of the patients, who were skeptical at first, now look forward to their regular visitors. The project is a collaboration between the Kidney Center, UCSB Health Professions Association, and Adventures in Caring. It is now part of the Compassion in Action service learning course at the University. One such volunteer is Joey Jobrani, a UCSB junior with double majors in biopsychology and economics. “The dialysis volunteer program has enriched my life: I have learned how to listen with compassion, and I have seen firsthand how this benefits the patient’s physical and emotional health.”

“As we approach the new millennium with its promise of amazing new life-saving technology, it is enigmatic to see more and more patients turning to alternative methods of healing. What they seem to be saying is that there is a huge gap between the humanistic approach to healing, and high technology. The Adventures in Caring Foundation, under the direction of Karen and Simon Fox recognize this imbalance and are making a major contribution to health care by teaching the importance of compassion, caring, good listening techniques, and patience, to its myriad health care volunteers. What is really so heartening is that many of these volunteers are Pre Medical students at the University of California at Santa Barbara, and represent the future of health care!”
-Michael Fisher, M.D., co-founder of the Santa Barbara Artifcial Kidney Center.

Reprinted courtesy of Adventures in Caring © 2000