Care for patients who decline dialysis
Dr. Susan Wong, associate professor (Nephrology) is leading a study that asks kidney specialists across the United States about their experiences caring for patients who are seeking a different path, and whether palliative care is offered instead of dialysis.
“We don’t have a systemized way to track patients who choose against dialysis,’ she says “so we have no way of evaluating whether we do a good job taking care of these patients after they make that choice.”
In past research, Wong found that for about 1 in 7 VA patients eligible for dialysis, a decision is made not to pursue it. This suggests that the general population of end-stage renal disease (ESRD) patients with that conservative mindset is sizable.
Wong launched her survey of clinicians through the National Kidney Foundation and has heard back from more than 160 providers so far. She hopes the anecdotal findings will shed light on the extent to which conservative care is offered alongside dialysis and might hint at different ranges of care offered by practitioners across care settings. She hopes to report findings in the fall.