As kidney disease progresses into the advanced stages, you may experience any or all of the following symptoms: itch, restless legs, nausea, poor appetite, lethargy, poor sleep, exhaustion or shortness of breath (dyspnoea)
Many of these symptoms can be managed with medical treatment.
Renal supportive care is the application of palliative medicine principles to the care of the renal patients who have a significant symptom burden from their kidney disease, despite being on dialysis, or who have chosen not to have dialysis.
The focus is on improving quality of life through symptom management, diet and psychosocial support. It also encompasses care and support of the dying patient and their family.
Some patients with advanced renal disease may elect not to receive renal replacement therapy (dialysis). The burden of renal replacement therapy (dialysis) and its impact on quality of life should not be underestimated. It is particularly difficult for elderly patients, those with functional impairment, poor social supports and multiple comorbid medical conditions.
Dr Kat Urban is the Palliative Care physician at Concord Hospital who runs the Renal Supportive Care Clinic.
A renal advanced trainee and a renal nurse are also present at the clinic. Together, they will make recommendations to your kidney specialist about how to best manage the symptoms of chronic kidney disease.
The Renal Supportive care clinic runs every other Wednesday between 1pm and 5pm in the Medical Centre Building, Level 2.
Patients who require additional support to remain at home can be referred to their local community palliative care service.
Community palliative care services work closely GPs, specialists, community nurses and other health care providers.
This service is available 7 days a week and for people living in residential aged care facilities.
Services offered include:
Referrals should be made through Community Health Access Intake Nursing (CHAIN):
CHAIN telephone lines are open 7 days a week, 8:00am - 4:00pm, closed on public holidays.
Medical and nursing staff may refer patients to this service.