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Palliative care in patients with advanced chronic kidney disease.

CANNT Journal 2015 July
The past five decades have shown a tremendous growth, world wide, in the number of patients with advanced chronic kidney disease (CKD). Patients with advanced CKD today are notably older, have significant comorbidity, substantial symptom burden and, ultimately, have high mortality. Subsequently, there is an increased global awareness of the need to integrate palliative care into routine kidney care to enhance the quality of life and death for patients with advanced CKD. This article outlines a conceptual framework for kidney palliative care for patients with advanced CKD and discusses issues such as symptom burden, illness trajectories, advance care planning, and complex decision-making, including decisions around the appropriate initiation, withholding and withdrawal of dialysis, and the potential palliative care roles and responsibilities for nursing staff within kidney care programs.

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