National Kidney Foundation Partners with University of Michigan to Improve Hemodialysis Outcomes

dialysis nurse and patient talkingThe National Kidney Foundation (NKF) will be working on a new $6.7 million project, spearheaded by the University of Michigan, to improve cardiovascular safety in hemodialysis patients.

The 5-year project is being funded by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) and will examine two interventions aimed at reducing cardiovascular risks in patients with kidney failure.

“This project is exciting because we will be implementing strategies that have been shown to be effective in improving patient outcomes in other diseases,” said Jennifer Martin, Vice President of Constituent Services for the National Kidney Foundation. “These interventions give us a chance to determine the best ways to improve safety and well-being for patients undergoing hemodialysis.”

Cardiovascular disease is the number one killer of people with kidney disease and kidney failure. Individuals with kidney failure who are on dialysis are more likely to have heart failure, strokes and heart attacks.

The first intervention to be tested with the study is a multimodal provider education program which will focus on dialysis facility care teams. It will include team training, online education, and checklists to identify patients who are becoming unstable during their hemodialysis sessions.

The second intervention is patient focused. Patients in the study will attend six peer-mentoring sessions that aim to support behavior change. These sessions will be provided by the National Kidney Foundation. The sessions will encourage patients to: eat a healthy, low-salt diet; drink appropriate amounts of fluid; stay at the dialysis clinic for the full length of sessions; if necessary, stay longer to allow staff to take fluid out at the right speed; work with doctors and nurses to make decisions about care; and notice and quickly report the dizziness and cramping that could signal hemodialysis session instability.

The PCORI-funded study will be conducted in 28 dialysis facilities across the United States. It will test these interventions to assess whether they improve hemodialysis session stability over a one-year intervention period. This study is expected to clarify whether these interventions can make dialysis safer for kidney failure patients and will inform hemodialysis care providers on whether to pursue provider-focused or patient-focused safety interventions, or both. People on hemodialysis will also have information provided to become engaged in their safety.

Learn more about this important patient-safety research by visiting the University of Michigan website