The prevalence of end-stage kidney disease is increasing, particularly among older people and those with multiple comorbidities. Typically, patients who develop end-stage kidney disease receive renal replacement therapies such as dialysis; however, this treatment can significantly affect quality of life and may not prolong life in older patients. Therefore, some patients may choose not to undergo dialysis and instead choose conservative management, which involves a palliative approach that focuses on maintaining quality of life and advance care planning. This article details the steps involved in a conservative kidney management pathway for end-stage kidney disease, including symptom management and advance care planning. It also discusses the importance of a palliative approach for patients receiving dialysis.
OBJECTIVES: Older patients with end-stage renal disease are willing participants in advance care planning but just over 10% are engaged in this process. Nephrologists fear such conversations may upset patients and so tend to avoid these discussions. This approach denies patients the opportunity to discuss their end-of-life care preferences. Many patients endure medically intensive end-of-life scenarios as a result. This study aims to explore the rationale underpinning nephrologists' clinical decision-making in the management of older patients with end-stage renal disease and to make recommendations that inform policymakers and enhance advance care planning for this patient group.
METHODS: A qualitative interview study of 20 nephrologists was undertaken. Nephrologists were asked about their management of end-stage renal disease in older patients, conservative management, dialysis withdrawal and end-of-life care. Eligible participants were nephrologists working in Ireland. Five nephrologists participated in a recorded focus group and 15 nephrologists participated in individual digitally recorded telephone interviews. Semistructured interviews were conducted; thematic analysis was used to distil the results.
RESULTS: Three key themes emerged: barriers to advance care planning; barriers to shared decision-making; and avoidance of end-of-life care discussion.
CONCLUSIONS: Advance care planning is not an integral part of the routine care of older patients with end-stage renal disease. Absence of formal training of nephrologists in how to communicate with patients contributes to poor advance care planning. Nephrologists lack clinical experience of conservatively managing end-stage renal disease and end-of-life care in older patients. Key policy recommendations include formal communication skills training for nephrologists and development of the conservative management service.
CONTEXT: Patients with end-stage kidney disease have a high mortality rate and disease burden. Despite this, many do not speak with health care professionals about end-of-life issues. Advance care planning is recommended in this context but is complex and challenging. We carried out a realist review to identify factors affecting its implementation.
OBJECTIVES: The objectives of this study are 1) to identify implementation theories; 2) to identify factors that help or hinder implementation; and 3) to develop theory on how the intervention may work.
METHODS: We carried out a systematic realist review, searching seven electronic databases: Medline, Embase, CINAHL, PsycINFO, Cochrane Library, Google Scholar, and ScienceDirect.
RESULTS: Sixty-two papers were included in the review.
CONCLUSION: We identified two intervention stages-1) training for health care professionals that addresses concerns, optimizes skills, and clarifies processes and 2) use of documentation and processes that are simple, individually tailored, culturally appropriate, and involve surrogates. These processes work as patients develop trust in professionals, participate in discussions, and clarify values and beliefs about their condition. This leads to greater congruence between patients and surrogates; increased quality of communication between patients and professionals; and increased completion of advance directives. Advance care planning is hindered by lack of training; administrative complexities; pressures of routine care; patients overestimating life expectancy; and when patients, family, and/or clinical staff are reluctant to initiate discussions. It is more likely to succeed where organizations treat it as core business; when the process is culturally appropriate and takes account of patient perceptions; and when patients are willing to consider death and dying with suitably trained staff.
BACKGROUND: Previous research has explored the cost of providing renal replacement therapies in patients with end-stage kidney disease and their quality of life. This is the first study to examine the healthcare costs of patients receiving conservative care without dialysis for end-stage kidney disease. This alternative to dialysis is an option for patients who prefer a supportive and palliative care approach.
AIM: Descriptive cost and quality of life analyses alongside a UK-based multi-centre observational study in patients receiving conservative management for end-stage kidney disease.
DESIGN: Health service use was recorded up to 12 months after making the decision to receive conservative management. Mean costs were calculated for each 3-month time period. The annual cost was calculated in two ways: by using only patients with complete cost data and by using all available data weighted by the number of patients at each time point.
SETTING: In total, 42 patients who opted for conservative management over dialysis were recruited.
RESULTS: Mean costs were £1622 (0–3 months), £1008 (3–6 months), £554 (6–9 months) and £2626 (9–12 months). Mean annual cost based on complete data (n = 8) was £5511, and the weighted mean annual cost was £5620.
CONCLUSION: The importance of this study is twofold. First, it provides substantive new information for health and social care planning of conservative management by demonstrating where demand exists for services, in both the United Kingdom and other countries with a comparable health service structure. Second, methodologically, it indicates that it is feasible to collect service use data directly from this patient population.
Background: Only a paucity of studies have addressed clinician perspectives on patient decisional conflict, in making complex decisions between dialysis and conservative management (renal supportive and palliative care).
Aim: To explore clinician views on decisional conflict in patients with end-stage kidney disease.
Design: Interpretive, qualitative study.
Setting and participants: As part of the wider National Institute for Health Research, PAlliative Care in chronic Kidney diSease study, semi-structured interviews were conducted with clinicians (nephrologists n = 12; 7 female and clinical nurse specialists n = 15; 15 female) across 10 renal centres in the United Kingdom. Interviews took place between April 2015 and October 2016 and a thematic analysis of the interview data was undertaken.
Results: Three major themes with associated subthemes were identified. The first, ‘Frequent changing of mind regarding treatment options’, revealed how patients frequently altered their treatment decisions, some refusing to make a decision until deterioration occurred. The second theme, ‘Obligatory beneficence’, included clinicians helping patients to make informed decisions where outcomes were uncertain. In weighing up risks and benefits, and the impact on patients, clinicians sometimes withheld information they thought might cause concern. Finally, ‘Intricacy of the decision’ uncovered clinicians’ views on the momentous and brave decision to be made. They also acknowledged the risks associated with this complex decision in giving prognostic information which might be inaccurate.
Limitations: Relies on interpretative description which uncovers constructed truths and does not include interviews with patients.
Conclusion: Findings identify decisional conflict in patient decision-making and a tension between the prerequisite for shared decision-making and current clinical practice. Clinicians also face conflict when discussing treatment options due to uncertainty in equipoise between treatments and how much information should be shared. The findings are likely to resonate across countries outside the United Kingdom.
Les patients souffrant d'insuffisance cardiaque subissent de nombreux symptômes très contraignants et ont souvent peur d'être un fardeau pour leurs proches. Tout cela peut conduire à l'anxiété et à la dépression, et influencer leurs décisions en fin de vie. Cet article a notamment pour objectif d'aider les infirmières à mieux comprendre ces patients et leur ressenti face à la mort. Il rappelle l'importance d'une bonne
communication entre les professionnels de santé et les personnes souffrant d'insuffisance cardiaque, pour leur assurer une fin de vie de qualité.
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