living your best to the end

Dialysis and End Stage Kidney (Renal) Disease – ESRD

End of life planning for those with specific chronic conditions:  Topic – Kidney Failure “End-of-Life Care planning (aka: Palliative Care or Advanced Illness Management) is essential for kidney failure patients.” Dr Robert Bear, Nephrologist, Blogger, Tweeter and Author Dr Robert Bear, whom I met via twitter (@RobertAllenBear) educates me on end of life decisions faced by those with end stage kidney disease – also called kidney failure. “While many frail and elderly patients with kidney failure will not choose dialysis treatment, for those that do the annual death rate on dialysis is 15-20%; and, overall, about 20% of long-term dialysis patients will ultimately decide to withdraw from it. “ As Dr Bear reminds me: “60 years ago, doctors would give mostly comfort care to those with end stage renal disease (ESRD) These days, specialists who provide that kind of care are in short supply” Today, for those with ESRD, comfort seems less emphasized than dialysis, now an option, thanks to medical advancements. It wasn’t until I saw ‘Gayla’s Goodbye’ and heard first-hand why she decided not start dialysis, that I began to understand its impact on life: ”My mother had kidney failure (ESRD) and went on Dialysis. She got more and more exhausted from those trips to the clinic. They took up so much of her life. It’s not for me.” Gayla subsequently died peacefully at home. Dr. Bear describes dying of ESRD as ‘typically a painless death’: “As the poison levels rise she would’ve spent more time sleeping. Essentially, she would have ‘slept away’. [blogger’s note: isn’t that how we all want to go?] “If patients are in...