Kidney Disease and Coronavirus: Mitigating the Threat

 
Americans living with kidney disease, especially patients on dialysis and transplant recipients, appear to be at increased risk of severe infection and mortality from COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.
 
As this pandemic evolves, the National Kidney Foundation, in coordination with the leadership of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other public health authorities, is engaging in many activities to educate, inform and empower Americans with kidney disease to reduce their exposure to this serious illness and to understand how to respond to a potential infection.
 
The Impact of Coronavirus on Kidney Disease Patients and their Providers
 
Kidney patients, including chronic kidney disease (CKD) patients, patients on dialysis, and kidney transplant recipients, are more likely to experience serious illness or death if they contract COVID-19. These patients are both more physiologically vulnerable to coronavirus and are also at risk due to the settings in which they receive care. In-center dialysis clinics, where the majority of U.S. end-stage renal disease (ESRD) patients receive life- sustaining treatment multiple times per week, are high risk areas for the outbreak.
 
The kidney patient community – and the nurses, doctors, social workers, patient care technicians, dietitians, and other clinicians who care for them – are concerned about their unique risk for illness due to coronavirus. As the leading organization dedicated to the awareness, prevention, and treatment of kidney disease, the National Kidney Foundation has quickly mobilized to educate our community about the steps that they can take to minimize their exposure, protect their overall health and take necessary preparations in advance of a community outbreak as well as understand how to respond if an infection is suspected.
 
NKF’s Response
 
The National Kidney Foundation is developing a series of tools to keep our community informed during the coronavirus outbreak. These resources are constantly being updated and expanded, and will include:
 
  • A comprehensive library of COVID-19-related patient resources, including information on:
 
  • A compendium of local resources for NKF Field Offices and Affiliates
  • Patient-Directed Facebook Live and webinar broadcasts with NKF’s scientific and medical experts
  • Access to NKF CARES, our Patient Information Center, as well as web-based, e-mail and social media resources
  • Resources are available on kidney.org/coronavirus
 
In addition to our patient-facing resources, NKF is the only organization equipped to inform the entire multidisciplinary team involved in the care of kidney patients. We are currently compiling resources and developing systems to rapidly disseminate information that keeps nephrologists, nurses, dietitians, social workers, patient care technicians, and others up-to-speed on this rapidly evolving situation.
 
Finally, NKF has been advocating on behalf of kidney patients with policymakers and on Capitol Hill. A trusted partner of federal agencies and legislators, NKF has advocated for:
 
 
Partnership Opportunities
The National Kidney Foundation welcomes the support and assistance of entities that might be interested in partnering to serve the kidney community during this crisis. For more information, contact Elizabeth.Montgomery@kidney.orgGail.Torres@kidney.org, or visit kidney.org.
 
About the National Kidney Foundation
The National Kidney Foundation (NKF) is the largest, most comprehensive, and longstanding patient-centric organization dedicated to the awareness, prevention, and treatment of kidney disease in the U.S. For more information about NKF, visit www.kidney.org. Call toll-free at 1.855.NKF.CARES (1.855.653.22) or email us at nkfcares@kidney.org.