Modern Healthcare magazine presented one of its  “Spirit of Excellence” awards to Fresenius Medical Care North America in recognition of the company’s new social work program, which has increased patients’ adherence to dialysis treatments by addressing quality of life issues. FMCNA was selected as winner of the “Team Spirit” award for its ability to “recruit and retain individuals dedicated to compassion, accountability, respect, enthusiasm and service.” The award was presented on May 7 to Stephanie Johnstone, FMCNA West Division lead social worker, and Donna McCarthy, West Division president of Fresenius Medical Services, at the company’s Waltham, Mass. headquarters.
Johnstone and her team designed the program to address the stress and trauma that starting dialysis can bring for those with end-stage renal disease. The new nephrology social work intervention model, launched in September 2011 in California, Nevada, and Hawaii, included interventions like training patients in stress reduction, communication, and the importance of adequate sleep and collaborating with other members of the team to improve mood and comfort during treatment. The overall impact was a more global rehabilitation of the patient, according to FMCNA.

It was this rehabilitation and improvement in quality of life that allowed patients to focus more on their adherence. Over a six-month period of active intervention, 76% of those patients who missed and shortened their treatments improved their compliance. As a result, FMCNA decided to implement the new program nationwide. And as of February 2013, program training had begun for social workers at all of the company’s facilities.