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UNC to Better Prepare Patients & Surrogates for End-Stage Renal Disease

Posted Oct 09 2009 10:01pm

A University of North Carolina researcher has received a $3.2 million grant from the National Institute of Nursing Research, to study how to make it easier for fatally ill kidney patients and their families to determine their end-of-life treatment options.  (Triangle Business Journal)
Researcher Mi-Kyung Song will recruit 200 patients with end-stage renal disease, along with their selected decision makers, to discuss their beliefs about their illness, chronic dialysis therapy and what treatment options they would prefer at the end of their lives.
The goals of the study are to better prepare patients to make end-of-life decisions as well as to reduce the anxiety and depression that surrogates often feel when having to make those decisions.  "Deterioration can happen quickly with kidney disease, and most patients die from complications," Song said. "But patients and their families don't often know that, and they don't discuss how they would feel about continuing aggressive treatments or dialysis at the end-of-life when those treatments are unlikely to improve their quality of life. So, family members are often ill-equipped to make decisions about the patient's treatment."
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