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20th April 2019 Latest News

Improving Care for Dialysis Patients

dialysis system

Promising research to help patients with end stage kidney disease

Sadly, one in 10 Australians live with end-stage kidney disease and require weekly dialysis to survive, resulting in poor quality of life. Thankfully, promising research is underway to improve the quality of life for these patients.

The CNARTS (Central Northern Adelaide Renal and Transplantation Service) Clinical Research Group at the Royal Adelaide Hospital is working on the MADE* Study, looking at non-medical factors which can impact patients transitioning to dialysis.

Clinical Research Coordinator for the CNARTS Group, Dr Richard Le Leu said the purpose of the MADE Study is to better understand the care needs of people entering dialysis, whilst supporting their psychological wellbeing.

“We collated a list of patient-reported outcome measures that may influence people’s transition onto dialysis, including psychological factors, coping mechanisms, frailty, gut health and more,” Dr Le Leu said.

“Whilst dialysis treatment saves lives, it’s stressful to most patients and care partners, placing significant restrictions on a patient’s lifestyle, diet and mobility, impacting on employment, family and social life.”

The team followed 28 patients over six months, surveying them after three and six months. Clinical psychologist and member of the CNARTS Clinical Research Group Dr Lisa Shanahan said after six months of dialysis, patients struggle mentally.

“We know things like anxiety and depression tend to worsen over time; this may be prevented by creating early interventions, making the experience less about being hooked up to machines and more about helping them achieve the best quality of life,” Dr Shanahan said.

Dr Le Leu said the broader aim from this study is to develop a more concise assessment tool to better support patients transitioning to dialysis.

“This tool can be used within standard clinical practice in the service to deliver additional support for patients who may be at risk of adverse outcomes,” he said.

 “We believe this study provides a starting point in developing a patient-centered feedback mechanism, incorporating positive psychology approaches, impacting patient wellbeing as identified by the patients.”

Dr Shanahan agreed: “This MADE study will provide valuable information to inform further development of patient reported outcome measures in renal services across South Australia.

“We are grateful for KTDRA’s generous donors who made this project possible. We are confident this study will enable us to improve the quality of life for patients receiving lifesaving dialysis.”

*MADE: Multidisciplinary Assessment at Dialysis Entry