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November 14, 2013

Kidney Disease, Diabetes and Patient Empowerment


2 Comments to “Kidney Disease, Diabetes and Patient Empowerment”

  1. Vicki Ivancevic said,

    November 14, 2013 @ 9:22 pm

    As an ESRD patient who has received a (so-far) successful kidney transplant, I completely applaud Dr. Topf’s comments. I have some comments of my own.

    1. Dr. Topf mentions CKD only in his post. Dr. Topf – do your comments also extend to those who have progressed from CKD to ESRD?
    2. If yes to #1, how can we extend this mindset to the dialysis providers themselves?

    I found that when I was a young, educated patient under the care of a dialysis provider, I was either talked down to or blatantly dismissed every time I tried to assert any type of control over my care or treatment plan. It seems to me that once you step inside the door of a dialysis provider as someone with ESRD, regardless of who you are and what your background is, you are handed a list of rules and regulations and told to toe the line or you can be dismissed at any point and/or threatened with being “reported” to your transplant center.

  2. Angela Humble, RD said,

    December 2, 2013 @ 6:39 pm

    Dr. Topf,
    Thank you for your wonderful blog which encourages patients to become an active participant in their healthcare. I have worked in the dialysis industry for about 19 years and I am excited to see the movement toward patient empowerment in many of the recently developed prevention based patient education programs. I am actually a Certified Chronic Kidney Disease Educator in a program called Kidney Smart. Kidney Smart was designed to compliment the education a patient receives by their physician so that they can make informed decisions regarding their diet, medications or even future treatment options if kidney failure occurs. During the class, we make sure a patient has a firm understanding about the correlation between uncontrolled blood pressure or diabetes and kidney disease. We also stress the importance of taking control of their risk factors thru dietary modifications, exercise and medication adherence. Each patient is actually given a lab tracking tool and educated on how to monitor trends in their labs so that they understand the necessity and importance of making changes in their diet and/or medications. Many of the diabetics who attended my class have said, “I wish I would have know these things earlier because I would have taken better control of my blood sugars or diet.” Actually, one lady came to my class because she wanted to be scared into doing what was right for her body. A few months later, she sent me a thank you note indicating that her blood sugars were now in control and that the class had saved her life. She was empowered thru education!!! I hope that as patients and physicians read this blog, they become advocates of early education and find classes like Kidney Smart to equip patients for what lies ahead. Thank you for taking the time to blog on this important topic and I look forward to seeing the ripples of change you have sent out into the patient and healthcare communities.


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