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Archive for Patient Education

October 29, 2015

CMS Five-Star Quality Rating System Supports Patient Choice

SEALS(NEW)2016Patients have many choices when it comes to dialysis treatment, and making a decision of where to receive care can be confusing. A recently updated tool from the federal government simplifies that process, making it easier for patients, their families and caregivers to compare the quality of kidney care providers.

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March 25, 2015

Keeping Patients Safe: A Fundamental Requirement to Move Up the Clinical Quality Pyramid

I was having a conversation with my mother-in-law, Doris, recently at her assisted-living facility. She had moved from her own apartment to the memory-care unit two years prior and had adjusted well to the smaller space and more institutional structure of the care she was receiving. At 92 years old she was fortunate to be physically frail but otherwise healthy—on only Synthroid for long-standing hypothyroidism. Slowly progressive dementia is apparent, but she is still able to carry out activities of daily living and recognize and enjoy visitors. I had recently completed Atul Gawande’s newest book, “Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End,” and decided to ask Doris what mattered most to her at this stage in her life. She wanted to be treated compassionately, with dignity, and she wanted to feel safe as her external environment contracted around her.

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February 18, 2015

Stay Employed, Stay Healthy: #WorkWithCKD

For patients, maintaining a career while managing kidney disease may help them feel healthier, happier and more fulfilled overall. In fact, studies show that some people on dialysis who keep their jobs experience a lower rate of depression, have fewer hospitalizations and score higher on general health and vitality tests. I’ve blogged about this topic before and it remains an important part of how we, as nephrologists, can support and empower patients to live the highest quality of life possible.

DaVita Kidney Care hosted a Google+ Hangout, Stay Employed, Stay Healthy: #WorkWithCKD that shares some inspiring patient experiences as well as advice from a fellow nephrologist and trained social worker. Watch the video below and please share with your patients and fellow physicians.

April 25, 2014

April is Donate Life Month


April is National Donate Life Month (NDLM), a time dedicated to encouraging Americans to register as organ, eye and tissue donors and to celebrating those who have given life by donating. As physicians, we see patients from across the kidney disease spectrum, from early stage to end stage kidney failure to transplant eligibility. Dialysis is an effective way of treating end stage renal disease, but most patients do not see it as their only long-term choice. The greatest gift we can give our patients is to encourage them to consider transplantation and to help them navigate the sometimes-turbulent waters of transplant evaluation.

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April 18, 2014

Online Tools for the Kidney Diet

This is a guest blog post by registered dietitian Sara Colman.

Knowing what to eat on a kidney diet can be complicated, and as kidney care providers we know how much support our patients need in planning meals and keeping up with nutritional goals. It’s important to provide an array of resources and tools to help patients achieve the highest quality of life possible.

For starters, patients can find education resources online. DaVita.com offers articles about kidney disease and dialysis treatments, as well as an entire section on the chronic kidney diet, including hundreds of kidney-friendly recipes.

Whether patients are pre-dialysis or currently on hemodialysis or peritoneal dialysis, they will find articles to help explain the kidney diet for their needs. Of course, there is no substitute for an in-person meeting with a renal dietitian.

Other kidney diet resources include the following:

Besides learning from educational articles, patients can use tools to help with meal planning and nutritional goals. For example, DaVita Diet Helper allows patients to plan meals, download suggested menus, create recipes, store a database of favorite foods and track daily food intake to see how it measures against goals for potassium, phosphorus, sodium and protein. The nutrition tracker and shopping list are available on mobile devices, too—perfect for patients on the go.

Even with the array of valuable tools, face-to-face consultations with patients about their diet are invaluable. It’s up to us as care providers to be the support team behind all our patients and their nutritional health. Help your patients stay on track with these resources and tools.

Sara Colman, R.D.N., C.D.E. blogs regularly at Kidney Diet Tips. Follow her on Twitter at @SaraColmanRD.




March 13, 2014

World Kidney Day Google+ Hangout On Air

Today is World Kidney Day, which is an important reminder of why kidney disease education and awareness are needed worldwide.

Roughly 1.4 million people across the globe are on dialysis and that number continues to grow each year. Kidney disease is a worldwide health concern. Today I participated in a Google+ Hangout On Air with Dr. Topoti Mukherjee, a nephrologist from India; Angela Lattimore, a dialysis patient from South Carolina; and Sara Hendren, a representative from the nonprofit program Bridge of Life – DaVita Medical Missions.

In case you missed it, here is the recording of the broadcast.

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March 11, 2014

Top 3 Easy Ways You Can Make an Impact During National Kidney Month

Once again, National Kidney Month is upon us. As nephrologists we deal with kidney disease on a daily basis, but the unfortunate reality is that chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a relatively unrecognized condition. Even though 1 out of 10 adults in the United States has kidney disease,[1] CKD has yet to reach the public awareness level of other chronic conditions, such as heart disease and diabetes. In fact, approximately 60 percent of patients with late-stage kidney disease are unaware their kidneys are failing.[2]

What does that mean for us as nephrologists? Our unique position as leaders in kidney care provides the opportunity to educate our patients, our loved ones and others in our communities. Here are three simple steps you can take to help raise awareness during National Kidney Month.

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