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Understanding the Psychosocial Aspects of Chronic Kidney Disease
March is National Kidney Month, helping to raise awareness and focus on building paths to better kidney care. According to the CDC, an estimated 37 million US adults have Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD), and most are undiagnosed.
Treatment for kidney failure is a miracle of modern medicine, but also an extremely taxing process for all patients going through it. Beyond the medical challenges of having extremely limited (or no) kidney function left, patients require dialysis or transplantation to stay alive. Dialysis can be demanding and is usually done three times a week for four hours, indefinitely. In a recently published book, Psychosocial Aspects of Chronic Kidney Disease: Exploring the Impact of CKD, Dialysis, and Transplantation on Patients, takes a comprehensive look at the patient experience of living with chronic kidney disease. This book includes sections dedicated to all stages of kidney disease and specifically addresses the needs of different sub-populations. Each chapter is written by a leading expert in the field, bringing together expertise on pain, sexual health, depression, quality of life and many other domains related to the kidney patients’ psychosocial status. The need for the health care community to be responsive to patients’ needs is eloquently summarized in a chapter dedicated to the complexities of measuring quality of life in this particular population.
“Measuring and monitoring QOL in ESRD may contribute to more patient-centered care and higher-quality care. Patient preferences may well differ from physician preferences in terms of their prioritization of symptom management. Although many patients prioritize physical symptoms including insomnia, fatigue, and pain and emotional symptoms such as anxiety and depression, physicians (including those who are trying to be patient centered) can end up defaulting to biochemical metrics and comorbidities. This difference in goals can happen for several reasons including system pressures and constraints. Patients, despite their own preferences, are not able to advocate individually for change within a complex medical system. Measuring and monitoring QOL provide a platform of information for improved patient-centered care. The measurement and review of these domains in other disciplines have demonstrated communication between the patient and physician that better focused on the concerns of the patient.” (page 509)
This book is a valuable resource to anyone involved in the care of patients with kidney diseases serves as a catalyst for improved clinical care and future psychosocial research in this often-understudied patient population.
For more information on Psychosocial Aspects of Chronic Kidney Disease: Exploring the Impact of CKD, Dialysis, and Transplantation on Patients, and how to order please click here: Elsevier store
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