Communicating prognosis in the dialysis consent process: a patient-centered, guideline-supported approach

Adv Chronic Kidney Dis. 2005 Apr;12(2):196-201. doi: 10.1053/j.ackd.2005.01.003.


Recent guidelines recommend shared decision making between patients and nephrologists as the model for dialysis decision making. A key component of this shared decision making is obtaining informed consent. As part of this process, nephrologists have an obligation to inform patients with chronic kidney disease of their prognosis. Ideally, patients themselves should be involved in the decision-making process; however, some patients will not possess decision-making capacity, and others may be unwilling to participate. Determining what to tell patients about prognosis requires tailoring the conversation to the individual patient's preferences. Conversations about prognosis need to occur in a timely fashion so that patients have the opportunity to consider options and make decisions before dialysis is inevitable. Communication strategies are available to assist nephrologists in breaking the bad news of the need for dialysis and its associated burdens. The approach described in this article should help nephrologists discuss prognosis with their patients in a way that is patient centered and in accordance with clinical practice guideline recommendations.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Communication
  • Decision Making*
  • Humans
  • Informed Consent* / ethics
  • Informed Consent* / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Patient-Centered Care
  • Physician-Patient Relations
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic
  • Prognosis
  • Renal Dialysis* / ethics
  • Renal Dialysis* / standards
  • Truth Disclosure*