Research Priorities for Palliative Care for Older Adults with Advanced Chronic Kidney Disease

J Palliat Med. 2017 May;20(5):453-460. doi: 10.1089/jpm.2016.0571.


Older adults with advanced chronic kidney disease (CKD) often have multiple comorbid conditions, a high symptom burden, and limited life expectancy. There is mounting concern that the intensive patterns of care that many of these patients receive at the end of life are discordant with their values and preferences. The nephrology community has recognized that there are significant unmet palliative care needs in this population. In this article, we identify three broad areas of knowledge deficit where more evidence is needed to support the "best care possible" for this population: (1) what matters most to older adults with advanced CKD and their caregivers near the end of life; (2) how the nephrology community can best support older adults with advanced CKD to navigate complex treatment decisions throughout their illness; and (3) how the healthcare system should be reconfigured to promote patient- and family-centered care for older adults with advanced CKD. Research priorities include identifying opportunities for improving the end-of-life experience of older adults with CKD and their caregivers; developing and testing communication interventions before and during dialysis to ensure that treatment decisions reflect patients' preferences; and assessing the effectiveness of palliative care in improving quality of life for patients and caregivers, satisfaction with care, and aligning treatment decisions with patient goals and preferences.

Keywords: chronic kidney disease; geriatric chronic illness; geriatric palliative care; nephrology; palliative care research.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Decision Making
  • Dialysis / methods*
  • Female
  • Geriatric Nursing / methods*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Palliative Care / methods*
  • Patient Preference*
  • Patient-Centered Care / methods*
  • Renal Insufficiency, Chronic / nursing*