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Meghan J. Elliott, MD

Award: KRESCENT New investigator award
Institution: University of Calgary
Year: 2019-2022

Study title: Supporting Engagement in Chronic Kidney Disease Care and Research

Dr. Meghan Elliott is a nephrologist and Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of Calgary. She completed her clinical nephrology training at the University of Calgary and earned a Master of Science degree in Clinical Epidemiology at the University of Toronto in 2018. Her graduate work focused on patient and stakeholder engagement in chronic kidney disease research. Her research program aims to support patient, family and provider engagement in person-centered kidney care and research. Using qualitative and mixed methods research approaches, she is exploring patient and provider care experiences, strategies to implement best evidence, and approaches to meaningfully partner with patients in research. She is involved in supporting knowledge translation and patient engagement within the national, patient-oriented kidney research network, Can-SOLVE CKD.
Lay Summary
Chronic kidney disease, commonly referred to as CKD, affects 1 in 10 adults in Canada. People living with CKD can experience many symptoms (such as fatigue and nausea) and may develop kidney failure that requires dialysis or kidney transplantation. By taking an active role in their own kidney health, persons living with CKD can gain knowledge, skills, and confidence about their condition and ensure they receive the care that is best for them. The same is true about patient involvement in kidney health research. It has become increasingly common for research teams to involve patients as partners in their projects; that is, doing research “with” patients rather than doing research “on” or “about” them. Involving patients as partners in kidney research can help them gain knowledge, skills, and a shared sense of community, as well as ensure the research is more relevant and impactful. The purpose of Dr. Elliott research is to better understand the needs and experiences of people living with CKD so that they can meaningfully participate in their care and in kidney health research.
Her research plan will include 4 projects: (1) Understanding the roles of patient partners within the patient-oriented kidney research network, Can-SOLVE CKD; (2) Understanding how symptoms are reported and addressed in hemodialysis units; (3) Exploring the support needs for patients with early stages of CKD, including the role of peer support; (4) Exploring the experiences of hospitalized CKD patients and developing a strategy to treat CKD complications outside of the hospital setting. The topics addressed by the proposed research, particularly those related to symptoms and CKD supports, have been identified as research priorities for persons living with CKD. All projects have a patient focus, meaning they aim to understand patient needs and experiences so that CKD care can be provided for the person as a whole -- physically, emotionally, mentally, and socially. She will be engaging with patient partners in different ways and in many aspects of this research, including conducting qualitative interviews and analysis, and observing symptom reporting in dialysis units.
Findings will help us better understand CKD patients’ experiences and needs related to their kidney health and their involvement in research. This will directly impact how care for persons with CKD is provided (for example, how symptoms are managed on dialysis, or how peer support needs are addressed), and will also identify strategies to enhance research partnerships with patients.