The National Kidney Foundation, in collaboration with Tufts University, announced the launch of a 3-year project to help older patients with advanced stages of kidney disease and their family care partners make decisions based on their goals and care preferences.
“Seniors may not recognize that starting dialysis is a choice and they may not be aware that other options, such as maximal medical therapy without dialysis is an appropriate option for some with kidney failure,” Joseph Vassalotti, MD, chief medical officer of the NKF, said in a press release. “Adults over 70 years old are the fastest growing segment of the dialysis population. Decisions about treatment options can be complicated and should be individualized. Although many older patients may have difficulty deciding between dialysis and conservative management, they are often poorly informed about the relative harms and benefits of these two strategies, including how either one could affect the duration and quality of their life.”
The project, Promoting Autonomy and Improving Shared Decision-Making for Older Adults with Advanced Kidney Disease, was funded through a Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute award. Keren Ladin, PhD, MSc, assistant professor in the department of occupational therapy and community health at Tufts University, will lead the project team in a study to compare the effectiveness of in-person education to in-person education plus an interactive web-based decision aid, the decision-aid for renal therapy (DART), to improve patients’ knowledge of kidney failure and to encourage patients and caregivers to actively participate in care decisions.
According to the release, the study will focus on adults older than 70 years of age with advanced chronic kidney disease and their care partners. Stakeholders collaborating on this new project include patients and care partners, clinicians, government, the NKF, American Association of Retired Persons, dialysis companies, social scientists, social workers, community members and other kidney patient advocacy organizations.