Educating patients on their health conditions like chronic kidney disease (CKD) is crucial to generating the best outcomes. While learning is important at any stage of disease progression, CKD patient education upon diagnosis is particularly impactful. Understanding CKD early can slow the progression, help your patients research and choose a dialysis method and access site before it’s needed, and may reduce the number of patients crashing into dialysis.
Educating CKD patients before they need dialysis helps save lives. In fact, early CKD patient education is associated with a 47 percent reduction in mortality in the first 120 days on dialysis.1 Starting education earlier sets the tone for treatment and can help patients relieve anxiety, get encouragement, and be informed about what options are available to them. Establishing a course of action and keeping patients educated on their health helps them succeed.
One of the ways to support new CKD patients is through a network of dedicated Kidney Care Advocates (KCAs) working for Fresenius Kidney Care. KCAs can be integral to patient success. They are available to conduct education classes, answer questions, and act as a crucial contact for people new to CKD. KCAs work with patients through their CKD journey, offering support at each new phase to help them prepare for dialysis and to choose the right modality. For patients previously unaware of their condtion who crash into dialysis, KCAs meet with them chairside at dialysis centers to ensure they understand the basics of kidney disease.
One of the key functions KCAs perform is teaching the free kidney disease education class offered through Fresenius Kidney Care. This class takes people new to CKD through the basics of kidney function, the symptoms and stages of CKD, a kidney-friendly diet, treatment options, coping with CKD, building a support network, and more. The class is available in person or can be taken online. You can refer your patients to the class through our Referral app.
Through education and continued connection with patients, KCAs help set patients up for positive outcomes and help them prepare for a dialysis modality and access site.
As KCA Danielle Crotsley puts it, “Our role is to give a class and teach patients what is going on in their body, what they can do to help themselves, and what treatment options are available.”
In addition to the team of KCAs, Fresenius Kidney Care has a wealth of tools available to support CKD patient education. These resources are designed to assist nephrology practices with ready-made assets that can be accessed online or handed out during patient visits.
Eating well is a critical component to slowing the progression of kidney disease, which is why we have a robust library of searchable recipes that can be filtered by specific dietary requirements, allergens, cuisine, main ingredient, and meal type. Patients will find dietitian-approved, kidney-friendly recipes for the foods they love. Additionally, we have several kidney-friendly cookbooks that are easy to download on mobile or desktop devices.
Fresenius Kidney Care hosts an online Kidney Care Community with over 4,000 members who can connect with other people who are living with or affected by kidney disease. People with CKD or those on dialysis, family members, care partners, and healthcare professionals can share stories, read articles, and make connections with others. This is especially helpful for home dialysis patients to meet others who can relate to their specific experiences.
The Fresenius Kidney Care patient education resource center has a variety of tools divided into useful categories that are helpful for patients and nephrologists alike. Some categories include eating well, treatment options including transplant and home dialysis, selecting and caring for an access site, preventing infections, and travel services. Many of these resources are also available in Spanish. Patients can access these resources by visiting FreseniusKidneyCare.com/Resources, and physicians are welcome to print and use the tools to support their conversations.
A CKD diagnosis can be intimidating for patients. That’s why providing education as early as possible is key to helping patients understand their condition and the best ways to improve their health. Fresenius Kidney Care has dedicated assets that are designed specifically for new CKD patients, helping them make the best decisions about their health throughout their entire journey.