Clinicians' Perceptions of Collaborative Palliative Care Delivery in Chronic Kidney Disease

Published in: Journal of Pain and Symptom Management (2022). doi: 10.1016/j.jpainsymman.2022.04.167

Posted on RAND.org on June 01, 2022

by Natalie Ernecoff, Lindsay F. Bell, Robert Arnold, Christopher M. Shea, Galen E. Switzer, Manisha Jhamb, Jane O. Schell, Dio Kavalieratos

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Context

Guidelines recommend palliative care for patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD), who experience a high pain and symptom burden, and receive intensive treatments that often do not align with their values. A lack of scalable specialty palliative care services has prompted calls for attention to primary palliative care, delivered in primary care and nephrology settings.

Objectives

The objectives of this study were to 1) describe expectations for care to meet the palliative care needs of people living with CKD, and limitations to meeting those expectations in the current model, and 2) identify potential interventions to meet patients' palliative care needs.

Methods

We conducted semi-structured interviews with clinicians from primary care, nephrology, and palliative care to assess 1) reasonable expectations for meeting palliative needs, 2) barriers to integrating primary palliative care, and 3) potential intervention points.

Results

Clinicians discussed their expectations for high-quality communication (e.g., discussing disease understanding, assessing goals of care) and better integration of palliative care services. Clinicians expressed barriers to delivering that care, including poor inter-clinician communication. To address barriers, clinicians outlined potential intervention points, such as building collaborative models of care, and structural triggers to identify patients who may be appropriate for palliative care.

Conclusion

Interventions to address gaps in palliative care delivery for people living with CKD should incorporate systematic identification of patients with palliative care needs and structural mechanisms to meeting those needs via specialty and primary palliative care.

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