Despite the known benefits of kidney transplant, less than 30% of the 615 000 patients living with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) in the United States have received a transplant. More than 100 000 people are presently on the transplant waiting list. Although the shortage of kidneys for transplant remains a critical factor in explaining lower transplant rates, another important and modifiable factor is patients' lack of comprehensive education about transplant. The purpose of this article is to provide an overview of known best practices from the broader literature that can be used as an evidence base to design improved education for ESRD patients pursuing a kidney transplant. Best practices in chronic disease education generally reveal that education that is individually tailored, understandable for patients with low health literacy, and culturally competent is most beneficial. Effective education helps patients navigate the complex health care process successfully. Recommendations for how to incorporate these best practices into transplant education design are described. Providing more ESRD patients with transplant education that encompasses these best practices may improve their ability to make informed health care decisions and increase the numbers of patients interested in pursuing transplant.
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