Feature Story

Survey Shows Gaps in Treatment Option Education for Patients with End-Stage Renal Disease

While the U.S. healthcare system is increasing its awareness of the benefits of home dialysis, and clinicians are being reimbursed for providing patient education, patients are not always receiving information needed to help them consider home dialysis as a therapy option.

Many patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) would like to receive more comprehensive information about the various treatment alternatives available, according to an article appearing in the March, 2011 issue of the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

The article is based on a survey conducted by the American Association of Kidney Patients (AAKP). Nearly 1,000 ESRD patients and their caregivers responded to the survey, which asked for their perspectives on dialysis education and therapy.  More than 30 percent of the patients felt that the different options for treatment-in-center hemodialysis, peritoneal dialysis, home hemodialysis, and kidney transplantation-were not "equally or fairly presented to them." Only about a third of end-stage renal disease patients indicated that they were given sufficient information about home hemodialysis - a relatively new option that may offer some key advantages over in-center dialysis.

In 2010 a provision of the Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act went into effect that reimburses clinicians for providing ESRD education, including information about treatment options such as home dialysis, to patients.

Although the patients were moderately to highly satisfied with their current treatment, there were significant differences between treatment modalities. Once on therapy, patient satisfaction was highest among transplant patients and home dialysis patients, and lowest among those receiving in-center dialysis.

AAKP and Baxter Healthcare Corporation co-authored the study based on the survey findings.