NEW YORK: The National Kidney Foundation (NKF) has launched a new public information series entitled "Hope Street" aimed at educating and empowering people receiving dialysis treatment.
"Hope Street" takes the form of a comic strip, or a graphic novella, that will be unveiled in several different formats in order to reach as many patients as possible, said Ellie Schlam, communications director for the NKF.
In addition to producing the series on posters every other month - which will be suitable for hanging on the walls of dialysis centers and clinics - accompanying material including online and print learning aids and teaching tools will be distributed. The tools are also being made available on the foundation's Web site.
Dialysis is used for patients who have lost kidney function, and the comic tells the story of a group of patients and those treating them in a typical dialysis center.
The launch of the series comes after a year's worth of preparation, with the Los Angeles-based agency BryantBrown Communications providing assistance to the NKF.
"The idea behind it is to avoid telling people what to do. Through the fictional cartoon characters' stories, we want to present the same issues and challenges that are playing out in the patients' own lives, encourage patients to talk about those experiences with their health care professionals and then make informed decisions about their own treatment and care," Schlam said. "It's about empowerment."
Schlam said the nonprofit has put together an editorial team for the series that not only includes physicians and healthcare providers, but dialysis patients and their families as well. The series is currently for six issues over the course of one year, though Bob Brown, partner with BryantBrown, said they are hopeful it would continue beyond that timeframe.