Shena Gazaway

A feasibility trial of a stakeholder-enhanced, lay-navigator-delivered intervention to improve the decisional partnership of Chronic Kidney Disease dyads

Shena Gazaway, Ph.D., MSN, BSN
University of Alabama at Birmingham


Black people with chronic kidney disease and uncontrolled high blood pressure face a higher risk of developing severe cardiovascular disease and face an additional risk of their kidney disease getting worse more quickly. Many things add to this risk, including living in areas with lower access to support resources and lower quality of communication and information sharing with medical team members. Over the past 18 months, our team has worked in partnership with a group of community advisory members, two who are living with chronic kidney disease, two who are care partners of someone with chronic kidney disease, and one who has experience as a social worker in a dialysis clinic. Together we have created a program focused on teaching skills for health-related decision-making.

The program consists of education on 1) communication, 2) social support usefulness, or 3) a combination of both. We seek to understand how these sessions, alone or together, impact how the person with chronic kidney disease makes decisions and how they feel they receive support from their care partner and/or medical team. We also seek to understand if there are benefits to the person with chronic kidney disease and their care partner’s quality of life and how the two work together to cope with the illness experience. Our goal is to positively impact health promotion by teaching answer-seeking behaviors to people with high-risk chronic kidney disease. Our team will recruit 32 Black adults with stage 3 or 4 chronic kidney disease and one identified care partner for a total of 64 people from the University of Alabama at Birmingham Chronic Kidney Disease Clinic and Cooper Green Primary and Kidney Specialty Care Clinic. In the study, there are four groups of participants: Group 1 will participate in one session on communication, Group 2 will receive 3 sessions on social support effectiveness; and Group 3 will have both communication and social support sessions. Group 4 will not participate in the sessions at all. All groups will be asked to complete surveys and one interview about their experience three months after the program is done.

After this data collection, the participants in Group 4 will be invited to participate in the session combination they choose, so they receive potential benefit from their participation. Participants will be paid $20 when they complete surveys at three points – 1) when starting the study, 2) at the end of three months, and 3) if the participant completes the interview. The education sessions will be delivered over video conference connection with those lacking access or the ability to connect using audio only. We plan to share our results scientifically and in the community as a team. Our plans for community sharing is through group classes, developed from content that was shared as beneficial in the interviews at Cooper Green and the UAB Chronic Kidney Disease Clinic and in two community-based locations that the community advisory group identifies. Our team, including our community advisory group members, will also write articles to submit to science-based journals. The results of this project will be used to prepare and submit an application to receive more funding to evaluate this program with a larger group of people from other areas in the state or the country.

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