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Kidney failure end-of-life care: impact of advance care planning – retrospective observational study


Objectives Patients with kidney failure (KF) have poor prognosis yet receive aggressive medical interventions at the end of life. Advance care planning (ACP) aims to respect patients’ treatment preference and facilitate good death, though whether these are achieved in KF is unknown.

This study examines the utility of ACP for end-of-life care in KF patients.

Methods A retrospective observational study of KF patients who completed an ACP document 2012–2019 and died in an Australian hospital. Medical records were reviewed to assess treatment concordance to the ACP document and quality of end-of-life care received.

Results 65 KF patients (29 dialysis, 36 conservative) had a median age of 84 years and 57% males. 86% of deaths followed an emergency admission. ACP documents recorded patients’ preference to avoid cardiopulmonary resuscitation (91%) and forego dialysis (86%). 95% patients received treatment concordant with ACP. One patient was resuscitated, and one conservative patient dialysed. A good quality death was achieved for most, including dialysis withdrawal (80%), palliative care referral (88%), discussion of prognosis (95%), rationalised medications (89%) and anticipatory end-of-life medications (92%).

Conclusion ACP documents are useful facilitating treatment concordant with KF patients’ preferences. Most patients avoided aggressive medical interventions and received good quality end-of-life care.

  • Chronic conditions
  • Clinical decisions
  • Renal failure
  • Supportive care
  • Terminal care

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