Dialysis provider DaVita said it would highlight the benefits of maintaining employment for dialysis patients this week through a social media campaign.

The United States Renal Data System shows that 50% of all dialysis patients are of working age, yet only one in five of those patients work, DaVita said in a news release. The company also pointed to a study published in the Clinical Journal of he American Society of Nephrology in Nov. 2012 that showed two out of three patients who were working in the year prior to dialysis initiation quit their jobs within the first four months of beginning dialysis treatments.

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“When I learned I had to go on dialysis, I was working at the time. I never even thought that I would stop working,” said Julie Spreckelmeyer, marketing and communications professional, and DaVita peritoneal dialysis patient. “My goal was to keep working and to keep up my regular lifestyle.”

DaVita said it aims to raise awareness of the benefits of continuing to work because research has shown that patients who remain employed are happier, healthier and more likely to get a kidney transplant.

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“Social media is yet another channel where we, as a dialysis provider, can educate patients about the benefits of maintaining employment,” said Allen R. Nissenson, M.D., chief medical officer at DaVita. “The benefits of continuing to work are great and with this effort we can help shift the end stage renal disease program back to one of rehabilitation and health, rather than solely maintaining a chronic illness.”

During the week of Dec. 9 through 14, DaVita will be highlighting these benefits through the following social media tactics:

Google+ Hangout On Air
On Thursday, Dec. 12, at 6 p.m. MST, DaVita will host a Google+ Hangout discussing the topic of working and dialysis called Stay Employed, Stay Healthy – Tips for Dialysis Patients. Speaking on the video panel will be Allen R. Nissenson, MD, chief medical officer at DaVita; Tommie Reese, DaVita dialysis patient and campus police dispatch supervisor at University of Alabama– Birmingham; Julie Spreckelmeyer, DaVita dialysis patient and marketing and communications professional; and Shelley Murphy, renal social worker at DaVita. 

DaVita’s Facebook community will share personal stories from DaVita patients and Facebook community members regarding their personal experiences with balancing work and dialysis.

Each day DaVita will post each day recipes aimed at dialysis patients who must prepare dinner after work for themselves or their family. 

DaVita will release a series of “instagraphics” (Instagram-sized infographics) on their Instagram account throughout the week. 

DaVita will be sharing facts and statistics about benefits of maintaining employment for dialysis patients on Twitter using hashtag #WorkWithCKD.