In December 2021, Beam Kidney Disease, in partnership with King’s College Hospital, announced continuation of their service thanks to an unprecedented collaboration between key renal charities. Kidney Care UK, National Kidney Federation (NKF), and UK Kidney Association (UKKA) joined forces with Kidney Research UK to provide access to kidney specific progressive programmes and specialist live classes and an on-demand video library.  Together they aim to increase participation in physical and emotional wellbeing activities and realise the associated health benefits. Thanks to this collaboration, Kidney Beam is free to all people living with kidney disease in the UK until 31st May 2022 and work is in progress to ensure funding beyond that date.

Running in tandem with the current Kidney Beam service, is the research study ‘The Kidney Beam Trial’ ( Identifier: NCT04872933), which is funded by Kidney Research UK and led by Dr Sharlene Greenwood from King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. This multi-centre randomised controlled waitlist trial, aims to evaluate clinical value and cost effectiveness of physical activity and wellbeing intervention delivered on the Kidney Beam digital platform.

The findings from the initial 6-month feasibility study, including patient experience of using the platform, will be presented at the upcoming NHS England and Renal Services Transformation Programme (RSTP) psychological, social and physical rehabilitation consensus day, being held in mid-May 2022. The data aims to support

the utilisation of digital health interventions to support physical and emotional

wellbeing for people living with kidney disease. The RSTP, together with the UK Psychosocial working group and the UKKA Living Well with Kidney Disease group, will host the consensus event with the aim of agreeing a whole system pathway approach for delivery, and regional commissioning of kidney-specific psychological, social and physical rehabilitation. Following the consensus event, the team will work together with NHS England and the RSTP to create a toolkit to support commissioning of these services within the integrated care systems (ICS). The recommendations from the event are also intended to be used to inform care as part of the new revised national standards for renal care.

This is a unique opportunity to inform and change the way psychosocial and physical rehabilitation is delivered for individuals living with kidney disease in England.

Dr Sharlene Greenwood, Consultant Physiotherapist for King’s College Hospital NHS Trust, and clinical lead for Kidney Beam said: “We are very proud of our renal rehabilitation programme at King’s College Hospital and it is exciting to be able to offer virtual exercise classes. The last 12 months has changed how we are able to deliver healthcare, and this programme has the potential to reach patients who have never been offered routine physical and emotional wellbeing programmes.”

The ‘Kidney Beam Trial’ aims to recruit 304 patients from a number of centres across the UK. Progress is going well with over 150 people having given their consent to be involved in the study. With a 100% activation rate on Kidney Beam (people who sign up to use the platform who then go on to complete an exercise class), research participants are enjoying the platform and continuing with classes even after their prescribed 12-weeks education and exercise programme.

Kidney Beam was conceived during the COVID-19 pandemic to support people living with kidney disease who were having to shield, but the team has always believed the benefits would extend far beyond this.

"Since its inception in 2020 almost 2000 people have signed-up to Kidney Beam and this trend is only increasing as more people discover the services and benefits Kidney Beam can offer” said Pamela Scarborough, Co-founder and Clinical Director of Beam. “This Clinical Trial provides an opportunity to evidence the impact and cost-effectiveness of Kidney Beam on health and wellbeing, hopefully building a case for NHS commissioning.”

It has been widely recognised by clinical teams and charities that there are long-standing challenges for people living with kidney disease in accessing a full spectrum of care, even more so since the COVID-19 pandemic. The goal of Kidney Beam is to address these healthcare inequalities and ensure all those who need it have access to specialist programmes, live and on-demand classes, as well as community and motivational support.

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