Background: Although evidence supporting the advantages of multidisciplinary team-based chronic kidney disease (CKD) care is not well developed, many groups are advocating increased availability of this model.
Methods: The research design is a mailed survey sent to 523 members of the Canadian and Quebec Societies of Nephrology.
Results: After excluding 113 respondents who declared themselves to be ineligible, the response rate was 54%. Ninety-one percent of nephrologists reported that they usually or always use a CKD clinic. Decisions about when to perform CKD-related tasks were based mainly on an estimate of glomerular filtration rate, rather than time remaining before end-stage renal disease (ESRD). The ideal creatinine clearance for referral to a CKD clinic was 30 to 59 mL/min (0.50 to 0.98 mL/s), but the usual level was 20 to 29 mL/min (0.33 to 0.44 mL/s). The ideal time for referral was more than 12 months before ESRD. Renal replacement therapy discussions were initiated at a creatinine clearance of 20 to 29 mL/min (57%). Nephrologists supported promotion of home dialysis for suitable patients, but not mandating this. Nephrologists did not provide a blunt prognosis to patients who did not specifically ask. Late referral based on adequate time for ESRD preparation was reported to be 4 to 6 months (27%), 7 to 9 months (26%), or 10 to 12 months (30%). Thirty-eight percent said that optimal preparation takes 13 months or longer.
Conclusion: The literature's common definition of less than 3 months as a cutoff value between late and early referral is not endorsed. Given that multidisciplinary team-based care is widely available in Canada, this study might inform other jurisdictions about the merits and problems associated with multidisciplinary team-based care and might shape the agenda for future empirical research.