Educational Interventions for Patients With CKD: A Systematic Review

Am J Kidney Dis. 2016 Sep;68(3):353-70. doi: 10.1053/j.ajkd.2016.01.022. Epub 2016 Mar 26.


Background: Preventing progression from earlier stages of chronic kidney disease (CKD) to end-stage kidney disease and minimizing the risk for cardiovascular events and other complications is central to the management of CKD. Patients' active participation in their own care is critical, but may be limited by their lack of awareness and understanding of CKD. We aimed to evaluate educational interventions for primary and secondary prevention of CKD.

Study design: Systematic review. Electronic databases were searched to December 2015, with study quality assessed using the Cochrane Collaboration risk-of-bias tool.

Setting & population: People with CKD stages 1 to 5 in community and hospital settings (studies with only patients with CKD stage 5, kidney transplant recipients irrespective of glomerular filtration rate, or patients receiving dialysis were excluded).

Selection criteria for studies: Randomized controlled trials and nonrandomized studies of educational interventions.

Interventions: Educational strategies in people with CKD.

Outcomes: Knowledge, self-management, quality-of-life, and clinical end points.

Results: 26 studies (12 trials, 14 observational studies) involving 5,403 participants were included. Risk of bias was high in most studies. Interventions were multifaceted, including face-to-face teaching (26 studies), written information (20 studies), and telephone follow-up (13 studies). 20 studies involved 1-on-1 patient/educator interaction and 14 incorporated group sessions. 9 studies showed improved outcomes for quality of life, knowledge, and self-management; 9 had improved clinical end points; and 2 studies showed improvements in both patient-reported and clinical outcomes. Characteristics of effective interventions included teaching sessions that were interactive and workshops/practical skills (13/15 studies); integrated negotiated goal setting (10/13 studies); involved groups of patients (12/14 studies), their families (4/4 studies), and a multidisciplinary team (6/6 studies); and had frequent (weekly [4/5 studies] or monthly [7/7 studies]) participant/educator encounters.

Limitations: A meta-analysis was not possible due to heterogeneity of the interventions and outcomes measured.

Conclusions: Well-designed, interactive, frequent, and multifaceted educational interventions that include both individual and group participation may improve knowledge, self-management, and patient outcomes.

Keywords: Chronic kidney disease (CKD); disease progression; educational interventions; end-stage renal disease (ESRD); health education; health knowledge; health literacy; patient education; self-care; self-management; systematic review.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Patient Education as Topic*
  • Renal Insufficiency, Chronic / therapy*