Article Abstract

The need for training in palliative care for physicians in other specialties: Brazilian nephrologists empowerment (or appropriation) on renal supportive care

Authors: Alze Pereira dos Santos Tavares, Carmen Tzanno-Matins, Marcio J. C. Arruda, Bárbara Antunes


Background: Renal Supportive/Palliative Care is gaining gradual recognition as a patient-centered care approach that should be integrated to the traditional disease-centered model of care, mainly in elder patients with advanced chronic kidney disease (CKD). The objective of this study was to assess knowledge, perceptions, attitude, experience and interest in palliative care among renal care providers.
Methods: Online survey, administered between May 23 to June 13, 2017 to members of the Brazilian Society of Nephrology (BSN). Participants self-reported knowledge and behaviors regarding renal palliative care.
Results: A total of 3,738 e-mails were sent, 224 (6%) providers completed the survey. Most respondents were under 50 years old (68.5%) and were nephrologists (98.2%). A request from a competent patient to discontinue dialysis would not be honored by 46% and 63% would probably continue dialysis if a patient become severely demented. On the other hand, respondents with ≥15 years of experience were more prone to stop dialysis (P=0.01) in patients who became permanently and severely demented. Respondents working only in private practice were more willing to continue dialysis in a severely demented patient than those working in a public healthcare system or both (P=0.02). Additionally, 87% of respondents would probably withhold dialysis in a permanently unconscious patient and 92% probably would not resuscitate a patient with a Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) order. Among factors that would have importance on a decision to not initiate dialysis, patient preferences (98.2%), advanced dementia (95%), poor clinical conditions (93.7%) and family wishes (92.3%) were top ranked by respondents. Most respondents routinely evaluate HRQoL (62%), pain and other symptoms ( 79%) and were very interested (96%) in improving knowledge about renal supportive care.
Conclusions: Brazilian nephrologists are often unaware of patient autonomy, more prone to withholding than withdrawing dialysis and deem wishes of the family quasi as important as patient preferences in the shared decision making process. Most Participants answered to evaluate pain and quality of life related to health (HRQoL) routinely and have great interest to learn about renal palliative care.