Keep Me Informed, Please

End-stage renal disease patients want more information on treatment options

(RxWiki News) A recent survey reveals that many patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) want more information on the various treatment options available to them.

In a study that included almost 1,000 end-stage renal disease patients and their caregivers, Stephen Fadem, M.D., from Baylor College of Medicine, and colleagues asked participants their opinions about dialysis education and therapy.

The researchers found that over 30 percent of patients felt that different treatment options were not presented to them in an equal or fair manner. Almost 70 percent of the patients said they were not given detailed education and training about home hemodialysis, a relatively new treatment option that some studies have shown provide some major benefits (lower cost, more comfort, and convenience) compared to in-center dialysis.

The end-stage renal disease patients also indicated that their physicians were the individuals who had the most influence over their selection of treatment. "People trust that their doctors will explain all their options to them, and then people often expect their doctor to make the choice for them," commented Dr. Joseph Madia.

On the whole, the most important part of education for end-stage renal disease patients was that they receive information on new treatments and improved medications.

"Dialysis patients should be provided with enough information to choose optimal therapies," said Dr. Fadem. "Our survey shows that dialysis patients do not always receive uniform, thorough information about all possible treatment methods, and as a result, are only moderately satisfied with their pretreatment education."

The researchers infer that the lack of education may be an influential factor in the low rate ofthe use of home dialysis among end-stage renal disease patients in the United States.

At the end of 2007, over 527,000 people in the United States were being treated for end-stage renal disease, a condition that occurs when the kidneys lose all, or nearly all, of their ability to function. End-stage renal disease can be a result of diabetes, high blood pressure, and urologic disease or other health complications.

The results of the survey conducted by Dr. Fadem and colleagues will be published in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

Review Date: 
February 23, 2011