If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with end-stage renal disease (kidney failure), facing end-of-life issues and decisions can be a difficult challenge. Your search for the absolute best care and support does not end when you are told that curative treatment options are no longer recommended. Even after the decision has been made to stop dialysis treatments, the need for comfort, care and support continues. Making a conscious choice to discontinue or cut back on the level of medical treatments affects everyone. Taking the time to learn about hospice and the level of care it offers to kidney disease patients will help you understand all of the available options and better prepare you to make the time you have more comfortable.

hospice care for kidney disease patients
While there are treatments and medical procedures that can help a kidney patient live longer, once these treatment options have been explored and exhausted, it becomes a very personal decision for the patient about how long they want to continue the fight. When the symptoms of the disease or side effects of treatments or medications outweigh the possible benefits, that’s when many end-stage renal disease patients decide to stop dialysis treatment and consider alternative options like hospice care.

Hospice Care for End-Stage Renal Disease Patients

Hospice care for kidney disease patients is often described as an approach that treats the patient, not the disease. The goal of hospice is to make the patient as comfortable and as symptom free as possible.

At Alliance Hospice we recognize the courage it takes to help a loved one who is suffering from a life-limiting illness. We also understand the physical and emotional stress it places on you to care for this loved one.

If you are reading the information on this web page, chances are you, or someone you love, is a kidney disease patient or a family member affected by kidney disease, and treatment is either under way or being discussed. Your search for answers to important questions about care and support for your loved one do not stop when you are confronted with the realization that there may be no available curative treatment options. The physical hardship of kidney disease happens to the patient but this illness affects the family as a whole. Alliance hospice care for kidney disease patients is here to help you and your loved ones.

We provide comprehensive hospice care and support services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week through our compassionate, experienced and well-trained interdisciplinary team of hospice nurses, home health aides, hospice social workers, therapists, bereavement counselors and volunteers. We always put patients and families first and strive to make every interaction with you and your loved one more meaningful.

Alliance Hospice recognizes the emotional toll and immense courage it takes to help a loved one who is suffering from a terminal illness like kidney disease. Call 1-877-440-2461 to see if hospice care is an appropriate option.

When should hospice care be considered for patients with end-stage renal disease?

Regardless of how accomplished a patient’s nephrologist is or how loving and supportive the family has been, there may come a time when dialysis is looked at as more of a burden than a benefit for all parties involved. Patients with end-stage renal disease often experience shortness of breath, fluid retention, swelling, cramps, fatigue and frequent visits to the emergency room and hospital as the disease progresses. Even if the patient has opted out of ongoing dialysis treatments, their medical needs remain, as do their personal concerns and wishes. Our interdisciplinary Hospice care team can provide care and support for patients with kidney failure and their families.

When a patient with kidney failure chooses to discontinue dialysis treatments, the prognosis for life expectancy can vary greatly and depends on a variety of factors, including the level of renal function remaining, how advanced the symptoms are as well as their overall medical condition and other additional underlying diseases that may complicate their case. In most cases, a patient cannot elect to receive Hospice services for kidney disease and continue dialysis treatments. If you have questions about dialysis, call Alliance today, to discuss hospice options.

A physician may look for changes in lab tests, such as creatinine clearance, serum creatinine and blood urea nitrogen (BUN) to assist in making decisions about hospice care. Decreased urine output, high blood potassium, and excess fluid are additional signs of end stage renal disease.

The patient’s nephrologist or primary physician may recommend hospice care when the time is appropriate. Oftentimes, patients and their families may have to be their own advocates to initiate the hospice care they desire. The patient, their family, or the patient’s doctor may request an evaluation and consultation with Alliance to determine if hospice is an appropriate option.

Benefits of Alliance Hospice Care for Kidney Disease Patients

The Alliance hospice team will evaluate the patient’s medical status and revise their care plan as the patient’s condition and symptoms change. The goal of hospice care for kidney disease patients is to treat pain and other symptoms and relieve the physical and emotional stress to ensure the greatest level of comfort for our patients and their families.

  • Pain Management – Our Hospice Care team provides palliative care which focuses on relieving pain and maintaining comfort.
  • Symptom Control – Our Hospice Care team regularly assesses each patient’s condition and works with the physician to determine the most effective treatment and medication options to maximize symptom control.
  • Hospice Care at Home – Wherever Home May Be – The goal of hospice care is to support patients by meeting their needs and managing their care at home – wherever they may call home. This means hospice services are provided in a patient’s home, whether that is their primary residence, a nursing home, or home of a loved one. Allowing one to stay at their home gives them the ultimate comfort when addressing terminal illnesses.
  • Coordinated Care Approach – Hospice care is a team effort. The patient’s family and loved ones are actively involved along with a team of professionals and volunteers. With the help and support of the hospice care team, the patient and their family can attain physical, emotional, and spiritual preparation for the end of life.
  • Holistic Approach – Emotional and Spiritual Support – Therapy and counseling services add an additional level of care to the hospice services provided by Alliance Hospice. Therapy and counseling are non-invasive, holistic practices which enhance the medical, social and spiritual care of the hospice team. These practices promote comfort and wholeness for both patients and their families. Therapy and counseling sessions are provided by staff and volunteers of the Alliance hospice team.
Alliance Hospice operates hospice care and palliative care programs in Augusta, Georgia, North Augusta, South Carolina and other Georgia and South Carolina Communities. We are one of the nation’s premier providers of end-of-life care.