Elderly patients with advanced chronic kidney disease have high symptom burden, despite the progress in renal replacement therapy. Dialysis is not a good option especially for frail elderly patients with higher comorbidity rate. Integration of palliative and supportive care to conservative management improves quality of life and prolongs survival of these patients. Conservative management of symptoms, prognostication, communication of advance care plans and shared-decision making should be a part of physicians skills. There are some recommended prognostication systems in nephrology, which can help to facilitate the physician-patient communication about therapeutic goals of care. Ethical and jural aspects of the process are also very important.
BACKGROUND: The care of patients in the United States who have ESKD is often shaped by their hopes and prognostic expectations related to kidney transplant. Little is known about how patients' engagement in the transplant process might relate to patterns of end-of-life care.
METHODS: We compared six measures of intensity of end-of-life care among adults in the United States with ESKD who died between 2005 and 2014 after experiencing differing exposure to the kidney transplant process.
RESULTS: Of 567,832 decedents with ESKD, 27,633 (5%) had a functioning kidney transplant at the time of death, 14,653 (3%) had a failed transplant, 16,490 (3%) had been removed from the deceased donor waitlist, 17,010 (3%) were inactive on the waitlist, 11,529 (2%) were active on the waitlist, and 480,517 (85%) had never been waitlisted for or received a transplant (reference group). In adjusted analyses, compared with the reference group, patients exposed to the transplant process were significantly more likely to have been admitted to an intensive care unit and to have received an intensive procedure in the last 30 days of life; they were also significantly more likely to have died in the hospital. Those who died on the transplant waitlist were also less likely than those in the reference group to have been enrolled in hospice and to have discontinued dialysis before death.
CONCLUSIONS: Patients who had engaged in the kidney transplant process received more intensive patterns of end-of-life care than other patients with ESKD. These findings support the relevance of advance care planning, even for this relatively healthy segment of the ESKD population.
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) has become a public health burden worldwide for its increasing incidence and prevalence, high impact on the health related quality of life (HRQoL) and life expectancy, and high personal and social cost. Patients with advanced CKD, in dialysis or not, suffer a burden from symptoms very similar to other chronic diseases and have a life span not superior to many malignancies. Accordingly, in recent years, renal palliative care has been recommended to be integrated in the traditional care delivered to this population. This research provides an updated overview on renal palliative care from the relevant literature.
INTRODUCTION: Palliative care is an approach aimed at relieving suffering, controlling symptoms and seeking to improve quality of life. It must be offered in conjunction with standard treatment for any disease that threatens the continuation of life, such as a Covid-19 infection.
DISCUSSION: The bioethical principles and strategies used by palliative medicine can assist nephrologists in the care of patients with renal dysfunction, who face the difficulties of isolation at the beginning and follow-up of dialysis in outpatient treatment, and those who are at risk for a more serious disease progress. Some of them: - a Shared decision making, which enables the patient and family to participate as facilitators in the systematization of the team's reasoning, in addition to respecting the principle of autonomy; - Symptom Management: which should be a priority to ensure relief of suffering even in times of social isolation; - Communication skills: making it possible to alleviate suffering in announcing bad news or complex decisions through communication techniques;; - Bereavement assistance: which in acute situations such as the pandemic, causing unexpected losses, the importance of sympathy from healthcare professionals becomes even greater.
CONCLUSION: The principles of palliative care are essential to face the challenges of a planet-wide crisis, which raises human suffering in all dimensions, and which requires the construction of strategies that can keep patients assisted, comfortable and with measures proportional to their clinical condition and preferences.
BACKGROUND: Patients with end-stage kidney disease (ESKD) may have palliative care needs. A tool validated in a Danish context to identify such needs is lacking. The Integrated Palliative Outcome Scale-Renal (IPOS-Renal) aims to identify patients' palliative care needs. The current study is the first phase of a research project translating and validating the IPOS-Renal into Danish.
OBJECTIVES: To investigate palliative care needs among Danish patients with ESKD.
DESIGN: A literature review was conducted using meta-ethnography inspired by Noblit and Hare. A focus group with health care professionals (HCPs) and semi-structured individual patient interviews were conducted and analysed using Malterud's principles of systematic text condensation.
RESULTS: A synthesis of 15 studies, a focus group with 13 HCPs, and interviews with nine patients were conducted. We found that patients with ESKD experienced several symptoms related to physical, social, mental and existential and practical needs. The most prominent findings were fatigue, reduced physical functioning, dizziness, impaired memory, dependency on relatives or HCPs, social isolation and loss of identity.
CONCLUSION: The palliative care needs identified in the Danish patient population are substantiated by the IPOS-Renal questionnaire. However, some Danish patients also appear to struggle with dizziness and impaired memory. These symptoms do not appear specifically in the IPOS-Renal questionnaire but may have to be included in a Danish version.
BACKGROUND: Despite having high comorbidity rates and shortened life expectancy, patients with ESKD may harbor unrealistically optimistic expectations about their prognoses. Whether this affects resuscitation orders is unknown.
METHODS: To determine whether do-not-resuscitate (DNR) orders differ among patients with ESKD compared with other critically ill patients, including those with diseases of other major organs, we investigated DNR orders on admission to intensive care units (ICUs) among 106,873 patients in the United States.
RESULTS: Major organ disease uniformly associated with increased risk of hospital mortality, particularly for cirrhosis (adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 2.67; 95% confidence interval [95% CI], 2.30 to 3.08), and ESKD (aOR, 1.47; 95% CI, 1.31 to 1.65). Compared with critically ill patients without major organ disease, patients with stroke, cancer, heart failure, dementia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and cirrhosis were statistically more likely to have a DNR order on ICU admission; those with ESKD were not. Findings were similar when comparing patients with a single organ disease with those without organ disease. The disconnect between prognosis and DNR use was most notable among Black patients, for whom ESKD (compared with no major organ disease) was associated with a 62% (aOR, 1.62; 95% CI, 1.27 to 2.04) higher odds of hospital mortality, but no appreciable difference in DNR utilization (aOR, 1.06; 95% CI, 0.66 to 1.62).
CONCLUSIONS: Unlike patients with diseases of other major organs, critically ill patients with ESKD were not more likely to have a DNR order than patients without ESKD. Whether this reflects a greater lack of advance care planning in the nephrology community, as well as a missed opportunity to minimize potentially needless patient suffering, requires further study.
Background: Ineffective medical treatment could be avoided if patients had completed advance directives documents in advance.
Aims: This study aimed to explore the predictors for the intentions of signing advance directives among dialysis patients.
Methods: This cross-sectional study recruited 209 dialysis patients by using structured questionnaires. The Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (Version 17) (SPSS/IBM Inc., Chicago, IL, USA) was used for data analysis.
Results: The predictors for the intentions for signing the advance directives were participants who had attended the hospice care course and those knowledgeable on " advance care plans." The participants who had previously attended the palliative care course were 3.708 times more likely to sign the advance directive document than those who had not received a previous palliative care course (p=0.005; Exp (B)=3.708). There were 2.401 times more participants who knew the advance directives than those who did not (p=.025; Exp (B)=2.401). Participants knowing of the Advance directive were 0.23 times more willing to sign the advance directive document.
Conclusions: Health care workers may strengthen the patient's knowledge of an "advance care plan" by health education during the dialysis treatment and provide information on websites for the patients.
Impact statement: Hospital managers should train their staff to provide health teachings for an advance care plan.
Background: Withdrawal from renal replacement therapy is common in patients with end-stage kidney disease (ESKD), but end-of-life service planning is challenging without population-specific data. We aimed to describe mortality after treatment withdrawal in Australian and New Zealand ESKD patients and evaluate death-certified causes of death.
Methods: We performed a retrospective cohort study on incident patients with ESKD in Australia, 1980–2013, and New Zealand, 1988–2012, from the Australian and New Zealand Dialysis and Transplant registry. We estimated mortality rates (by age, sex, calendar year and country) and summarized withdrawal-related deaths within 12 months of treatment modality change. Certified causes of death were ascertained from data linkage with the Australian National Death Index and New Zealand Mortality Collection database.
Results: Of 60 823 patients with ESKD, there were 8111 treatment withdrawal deaths and 26 207 other deaths over 381 874 person-years. Withdrawal-related mortality rates were higher in females and older age groups. Rates increased between 1995 and 2013, from 1142 (95% confidence interval 1064–1226) to 2706/100 000 person-years (95% confidence interval 2498–2932), with the greatest increase in 1995–2006. A third of withdrawal deaths occurred within 12 months of treatment modality change. The national death registers reported kidney failure as the underlying cause of death in 20% of withdrawal cases, with other causes including diabetes (21%) and hypertensive disease (7%). Kidney disease was not mentioned for 18% of withdrawal patients.
Conclusions: Treatment withdrawal represents 24% of ESKD deaths and has more than doubled in rate since 1988. Population data may supplement, but not replace, clinical data for end-of-life kidney-related service planning.
BACKGROUND: Patients with advanced kidney disease are less likely than many patients with other types of serious illness to enroll in hospice. Little is known about real-world clinical decision-making related to hospice for members of this population.
METHODS: We used a text search tool to conduct a thematic analysis of documentation pertaining to hospice in the electronic medical record system of the Department of Veterans Affairs, for a national sample of 1000 patients with advanced kidney disease between 2004 and 2014 who were followed until October 8, 2019.
RESULTS: Three dominant themes emerged from our qualitative analysis of the electronic medical records of 340 cohort members with notes containing hospice mentions: (1) hospice and usual care as antithetical care models: clinicians appeared to perceive a sharp demarcation between services that could be provided under hospice versus usual care and were often uncertain about hospice eligibility criteria. This could shape decision-making about hospice and dialysis and made it hard to individualize care; (2) hospice as a last resort: patients often were referred to hospice late in the course of illness and did not so much choose hospice as accept these services after all treatment options had been exhausted; and (3) care complexity: patients' complex care needs at the time of hospice referral could complicate transitions to hospice, stretch the limits of home hospice, and promote continued reliance on the acute care system.
CONCLUSIONS: Our findings underscore the need to improve transitions to hospice for patients with advanced kidney disease as they approach the end of life.
Context: An important aspect of end-of-life care, place of death is understudied in advanced chronic (CKD) and end-stage kidney disease (ESKD).
Objective: We sought to examine trends and factors associated with where advanced CKD/ESKD patients die.
Methods: We conducted a retrospective cross-sectional study using mortality data from 2003 to 2017 for deaths attributed primarily to advanced CKD/ESKD in the United States.
Results: Between 2003 and 2017, 222,247 deaths were attributed to advanced CKD/ESKD. From 2003 to 2017, deaths occurring in hospitals declined from 56.0% (n = 5356) to 35.6% (n = 7764), whereas increases occurred in deaths at home (13.5% [n = 1292] to 24.3% [n = 5306]), nursing facilities (18.6% [n = 1776] to 19.3% [n = 4221]), and hospice facilities (0.3% [n = 29] to 13.4% [n = 2917]). Nonwhite race was associated with increased odds of hospital death (Black [OR = 1.59; 95% CI = 1.55, 1.62]; Native American [OR = 1.47; 95% CI = 1.32, 1.63]; Asian [OR = 1.43; 95% CI = 1.32, 1.55] and reduced odds of nursing facility (Black [OR = 0.622; 95% CI = 0.600, 0.645]; Native American [OR = 0.638; 95% CI = 0.572, 0.712]; Asian [OR = 0.574; 95% CI = 0.533, 0.619], or hospice facility death (Black [OR = 0.843; 95% CI = 0.773, 0.918]; Native American [OR = 0.380; 95% CI = 0.289, 0.500]; Asian [OR = 0.609; 95% CI = 0.502, 0.739]). Older age was associated with reduced odds of hospital death (=85 [OR = 0.334; 95% CI = 0.312, 0.358]) and increased odds of home (=85 [OR = 1.55; 95% CI = 1.43, 1.68]), nursing facility (=85 [OR = 3.09; 95% CI = 2.76, 3.45]) or hospice facility death (=85 [OR = 1.60; 95% CI = 1.49, 1.72]).
Conclusions: Hospitals remain the most common place of death from advanced CKD/ESKD; however, the proportion of home, nursing facility, and hospice facility deaths have increased.
BACKGROUND: Palliative care is increasingly becoming an accepted treatment choice for many individuals diagnosed with end-stage kidney disease (ESKD). Yet, its utilisation is non-existent in many lower- and middle-income countries (LMICs). This study explored the perceptions of individuals with ESKD and their informal caregivers on palliative care as a treatment option for the disease in Ghana.
METHODS: This was a phenomenological study, with an in-depth analysis of data collected from nine individuals with ESKD and six informal caregivers through individual, face-to-face semi-structured interviews. The study was conducted in two renal centres within the Kumasi metropolis, Ghana among individuals with ESKD seeking care from both renal centres and their informal caregivers.
RESULTS: Three main themes were derived from this study - motivation for initiating haemodialysis, facing realities of haemodialysis, and considering palliative care. Participants felt that haemodialysis (HD) was not meeting their health expectations and demonstrated a general willingness to utilise palliative care if it would reduce suffering.
CONCLUSIONS: This study has shown that individuals with ESKD or their informal caregivers would consider palliative care services, if available. It paves the way for discussions about palliative care for ESKD to begin across renal centres within Ghana and other similar settings. Exploring perspectives of clinicians in such settings could inform strategies on how to implement palliative care for ESKD management in such settings.
Le respect de l’autonomie du patient est essentiel. Il peut rédiger des directives anticipées en vue d’une situation où il ne pourrait plus s’exprimer. Actuellement, peu de personnes les ont rédigées. Nous avons réalisé une étude sur la faisabilité de la mise en place systématique des directives anticipées chez des patients hémodialysés. Cette étude prospective monocentrique a été menée dans un centre d’hémodialyse ambulatoire en 4 étapes : un questionnaire remis aux soignants ; la sélection puis l’information des patients ; la rédaction assistée des directives anticipées par les patients intéressés ; l’évaluation des causes de non-participation. Les soignants connaissent mal le dispositif et ont des réticences : le manque de connaissances médicales du patient, l’angoisse générée par la discussion sur la fin de vie. Cinquante-six patients (51,6 %) ont été inclus et ont reçu les informations. Neuf d’entre eux ont souhaité rédiger leurs directives anticipées sur un formulaire adapté, huit les ont finalisées (7,4 % de la population initiale). La majorité souhaitait une limitation thérapeutique. Vingt-neuf patients ayant reçu l’information n’ont pas souhaité les rédiger, les raisons étant : ils se sentent bien ou pensent que leurs proches prendraient les bonnes décisions. Dix-huit patients sont sortis du centre pendant l’étude. Le développement des directives anticipées nécessite l’information et la formation des soignants, ainsi que l’accompagnement des patients. Peu de patients sont allés au bout de la démarche. La limite de la « compétence » du patient à décider pour lui est difficile à définir. Le rôle du médecin est central pour l’accompagner.
Background: The population of older adults with chronic kidney disease (CKD) is increasing and nephrologists need education on the principles of geriatrics and palliative care to effectively care for this population.
Objectives: Our objective was to develop and deliver a curriculum to interprofessional clinicians caring for older adults with CKD. The aim of this curriculum would be to improve knowledge of the principles of geriatrics and palliative care.
Design: We have previously developed a curriculum on geriatrics and palliative care targeted toward primary care teams. In this project, we used an interdisciplinary steering committee to modify the curriculum for nephrology teams.
Setting: This curriculum was delivered in a live grand rounds setting and was recorded and made available via online platform for virtual learning.
Participants: The 6-session curriculum was delivered to 611 live and online learners between January 2018 and April 2019, with more than half of the participants (n = 317) completing more than 1 session. Participants came from a variety of disciplines including medicine, nursing, pharmacy, and social work.
Results: Participants had a high rate of agreement with the statement that the curriculum met learning objectives, with live participants having stronger agreement. Participants reported that the activity would change their practice behavior by calling palliative care earlier, as well as improving their communication skills.
Conclusion: Interprofessional collaboration can result in improved learning around the management of patients with CKD or end-stage kidney disease.
Background: End-stage chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), chronic heart failure (CHF) and chronic renal failure (CRF) are characterized by a high burden of daily symptoms that, irrespective of the primary organ failure, are widely shared.
Aims: To evaluate whether and to which extent symptom-based clusters of patients with end-stage COPD, CHF and CRF associate with patients’ health status, mobility, care dependency and life-sustaining treatment preferences.
Methods: 255 outpatients with a diagnosis of advanced COPD (n = 95), advanced CHF (n = 80) or CRF requiring dialysis (n = 80) were visited in their home environment and underwent a multidimensional assessment: clinical characteristics, symptom burden using Visual Analog Scale (VAS), health status questionnaires, timed “Up and Go” test, Care Dependency Scale and willingness to undergo mechanical ventilation or cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Three clusters were obtained applying K-means cluster analysis on symptoms’ severity assessed via VAS. Cluster characteristics were compared using non-parametric tests.
Results: Cluster 1 patients, with the least symptom burden, had a better quality of life, lower care dependency and were more willing to accept life-sustaining treatments than others. Cluster 2, with a high presence and severity of dyspnea, fatigue, cough, muscle weakness and mood problems, and Cluster 3, with the highest occurrence and severity of symptoms, reported similar care dependency and life-sustaining treatment preferences, while Cluster 3 reported the worst physical health status.
Discussion: Symptom-based clusters identify patients with different health needs and might help to develop palliative care programs.
Conclusion: Clustering by symptoms identifies patients with different health status, care dependency and life-sustaining treatment preferences.
Background: Palliative care is an important branch of nursing care. Patients with end-stage renal disease, owing to the chronic nature of the disease, will require palliative care, with nursing staff being responsible for delivering these services. Understanding the priorities of this type of care from the perspective of patients and nursing staff can be helpful in delivering it effectively and efficiently. This study was conducted to determine and compare palliative care priorities from the perspectives of patients and nursing staff in a haemodialysis ward in Iran.
Method: This research is a cross-sectional and descriptive-analytic study with a sample size equal to the research population (322 patients and 45 nursing staff) in a haemodialysis ward in Kerman, Iran. Data were collected using two self-administered questionnaires that included demographic information and palliative care priorities. Data were analysed using SPSS19 with central tendency and dispersion indicators (frequency, percentage, mean and standard deviation, Mann–Whitney U-test, Kruskal–Wallis, independent t, ANOVA and one-way ANOVA). The significance level was P<0.05.
Results: The mean total score (± standard deviation) of palliative care priorities from the patients' and nurses' perspective was 268.83±3.90 and 271.11±29.76, respectively, which was categorised for both groups as ‘high priority’. From the patients' perspective, the highest mean score was obtained from ‘supporting patient with insurance concerns’, while the lowest mean score was derived from ‘managing diarrhoea’. The nurses also believed that ‘managing and relief of pain’ had the highest priority and ‘bloating’ had the lowest priority in palliative care. From the perspective of both groups, holistic support and relief of physical disorders had the highest and lowest mean scores, respectively. Further, the mean scores of palliative care priorities did not differ significantly from the perspective of patients and nursing staff in the haemodialysis ward (P=0.68).
Conclusion: Palliative care is a high priority for both haemodialysis patients and nursing staff and both groups prioritised it similarly. As palliative care has not yet been initiated formally across all treatment centres in Iran, it is necessary to prioritise its inclusion within the renal and haemodialysis wards in Iran and provide further training or education for nurses to ensure they are equipped to deliver effective and informed palliative care.
Background: Renal failure is a chronic disease that can seriously affect quality of life (QOL). Health-Related QOL represents the physical, psychological, and social domains of health that are influenced by a person's experience, beliefs, expectations, and perceptions. The aim of this study is to explore QOL of Stage 5 chronic kidney disease (CKD) patients on maintenance hemodialysis (MHD) in South India.
Materials and Methods: This was a cross-sectional observational study conducted among patients with CKD undergoing MHD at 11 major centers in South India. Demographic data were collected using a predesigned questionnaire. QOL index was measured using the 26-item WHOQOL-BREF questionnaire, and statistical analysis was carried out using the SPSS version 24 (Academy of Medical Sciences, Kannur, Kerala, India).
Results: Five hundred and three patients undergoing MHD were enrolled, and the following QOL scores were recorded: social relationship (51.65 ± 21.03), environmental (46.91 ± 19.29), psychological (41.07 ± 20.30), and physical health (40.17 ± 17.05). QOL of patients declined with aging in all four domains. Being male, younger, educated, and unmarried appeared to have a favorable effect on several aspects of patients' QOL.
Conclusion: The evaluation of QOL in CKD patients undergoing hemodialysis showed that it was relatively compromised. Because the patients had a chronic, progressive irreversible disease, the most affected was physical domain. Age, education, employment, and marital status were found to affect one or more domains of QOL. Age and education are significant independent variables; as the age increases, QOL decreases, and higher the education better the QOL.
Ethical issues relating to end-stage kidney disease (ESKD) care are increasingly being discussed by clinicians and ethicists but are still infrequently considered at a policy level or in the education and training of health care professionals. In most lower-income countries, access to kidney replacement therapies such as dialysis is not universal, leading to overt or implicit rationing of resources and potential exclusion from care of those who are unable to sustain out-of-pocket payments. These circumstances create significant inequities in access to ESKD care within and between countries and impose emotional and moral burdens on patients, families, and health care workers involved in decision-making and provision of care. End-of-life decision-making in the context of ESKD care in all countries may also create ethical dilemmas for policy makers, professionals, patients, and their families. This review outlines several ethical implications of the complex challenges that arise in the management of ESKD care around the world. We argue that more work is required to develop the ethics of ESKD care, so as to provide ethical guidance in decision-making and education and training for professionals that will support ethical practice in delivery of ESKD care. We briefly review steps that may be required to accomplish this goal, discussing potential barriers and strategies for success.
A key component of treatment for all people with advanced kidney disease is supportive care, which aims to improve quality of life and can be provided alongside therapies intended to prolong life, such as dialysis. This article addresses the key considerations of supportive care as part of integrated end-stage kidney disease care, with particular attention paid to programs in low- and middle-income countries. Supportive care should be an integrated component of care for patients with advanced chronic kidney disease, patients receiving kidney replacement therapy (KRT), and patients receiving non-KRT conservative care. Five themes are identified: improving information on prognosis and support, developing context-specific evidence, establishing appropriate metrics for monitoring care, clearly communicating the role of supportive care, and integrating supportive care into existing health care infrastructures. This report explores some general aspects of these 5 domains, before exploring their consequences in 4 health care situations/settings: in people approaching end-stage kidney disease in high-income countries and in low- and middle-income countries, and in people discontinuing KRT in high-income countries and in low- and middle-income countries.
This study aimed to evaluate the validity and reliability of the Persian version of Death Anxiety Scale-Extended (DAS-E). A total of 507 patients with end-stage renal disease completed the DAS-E. The factor structure of the scale was evaluated using exploratory factor analysis with an oblique rotation and confirmatory factor analysis. The content and construct validity of the DAS-E were assessed. Average variance extracted, maximum shared squared variance, and average shared squared variance were estimated to assess discriminant and convergent validity. Reliability was assessed using Cronbach’s alpha coefficient (a = .839 and .831), composite reliability (CR = .845 and .832), Theta ( = .893 and .867), and McDonald Omega (O = .796 and .743). The analysis indicated a two-factor solution. Reliability and discriminant validity of the factors was established. Findings revealed that the present scale was a valid and reliable instrument that can be used in assessment of death anxiety in Iranian patients with end-stage renal disease.
BACKGROUND: Advance Care Planning (ACP) is essential for preparation for end-of-life. It is a means through which patients clarify their treatment wishes. ACP is a patient-centered, dynamic process involving patients, their families, and caregivers. It is designed to 1) clarify goals of care, 2) increase patient agency over their care and treatments, and 3) help prepare for death. ACP is an active process; the end-stage renal disease (ESRD) illness trajectory creates health circumstances that necessitate that caregivers assess and nurture patient readiness for ACP discussions. Effective ACP enhances patient engagement and quality of life resulting in better quality of care.
MAIN BODY: Despite these benefits, ACP is not consistently completed. Clinical, technical, and social barriers result in key challenges to quality care. First, ACP requires caregivers to have end-of-life conversations that they lack the training to perform and often find difficult. Second, electronic health record (EHR) tools do not enable the efficient exchange of requisite psychosocial information such as treatment burden, patient preferences, health beliefs, priorities, and understanding of prognosis. This results in a lack of information available to enable patients and their families to understand the impact of illness and treatment options. Third, culture plays a vital role in end-of-life conversations. Social barriers include circumstances when a patient's cultural beliefs or value system conflicts with the caregiver's beliefs. Caregivers describe this disconnect as a key barrier to ACP. Consistent ACP is integral to quality patient-centered care and social workers' training and clinical roles uniquely position them to support ACP.
CONCLUSION: In this debate, we detail the known barriers to completing ACP for ESRD patients, and we describe its benefits. We detail how social workers, in particular, can support health outcomes by promoting the health information exchange that occurs during these sensitive conversations with patients, their family, and care team members. We aim to inform clinical social workers of this opportunity to enhance quality care by engaging in ACP. We describe research to help further elucidate barriers, and how researchers and caregivers can design and deliver interventions that support ACP to address this persistent challenge to quality end-of-life care.