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Saudi Journal of Kidney Diseases and Transplantation
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ORIGINAL ARTICLE Table of Contents   
Year : 2005  |  Volume : 16  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 306-310
Is There a Need for Establishing a Formal Nephrologist-Directed Primary Care Program in Dialysis Units?


Division of Nephrology and Hypertension, Department of Medicine, King Fahad National Guard Hospital, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

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   Abstract 

We have introduced an annual timetable format for addressing the "primary care" needs of the hemodialysis population. For 102 patients enrolled, fourteen interventions adapted for the dialysis population from the US Preventive Services Task Force recommendations were implemented successfully in 65% areas in our pilot year, which include important features like annual history and physical examination, breast examination, mammography, pap smear, lipid profile, adult specific immunization and stool occult blood. Flexible sigmoidoscopy program was unsuccessful in our pilot year.

How to cite this article:
Quadri K, Huraib SO, Qureshi J, Raza H, Al Kanhal F, Lum C, Loria BM, Catherine, Powell, Tanimu DZ, Al Ghamdi G, Al Flaiw A, Abunijem ZM. Is There a Need for Establishing a Formal Nephrologist-Directed Primary Care Program in Dialysis Units?. Saudi J Kidney Dis Transpl 2005;16:306-10

How to cite this URL:
Quadri K, Huraib SO, Qureshi J, Raza H, Al Kanhal F, Lum C, Loria BM, Catherine, Powell, Tanimu DZ, Al Ghamdi G, Al Flaiw A, Abunijem ZM. Is There a Need for Establishing a Formal Nephrologist-Directed Primary Care Program in Dialysis Units?. Saudi J Kidney Dis Transpl [serial online] 2005 [cited 2019 Dec 10];16:306-10. Available from: http://www.sjkdt.org/text.asp?2005/16/3/306/32859

   Introduction Top


Nephrologists have traditionally provided "primary care" to their dialysis patients. One survey of practicing nephrologists revealed that 90% of "responders" provided primary care to their dialysis patients. [1] Another report concluded that awareness and implementation of routine health maintenance recommendations is essential in the case of female dialysis patients. [2] A third report pertaining to pediatric dialysis patients concluded that primary care of these patients should include careful com­pliance with the routine childhood immunization schedule. [3] A fourth article concluded that, in view of the 15 times greater cardiovascular mortality in dialysis patients relative to the general population, implementation of risk factor reduction strategies earlier in the course of chronic renal disease may prevent cardio­vascular disease. [4] Finally, in a review of issues pertaining to nephrologists as primary care providers, the author points out that "there is little objective information on which to base guidelines and recommendations about nephro­logist-directed primary care of patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD). [5] The 1994 Clinicians Handbook of Preventive Services adult care timetable summarizes age-specific recommendations for tests, examinations, immunizations and health guidance for the normal adult population. [6] No similar program exists for dialysis patients.


   Advantages of a Formal Program Top


Patients dialyzed on a standard thrice weekly schedule often seek advice on primary care issues from their treating physician/delegate or nurse. Thus, it appears prudent that a number of primary care interventions can be sche­duled in the dialysis unit on dialysis days. Additionally, by having an annual timetable format, specific interventions can be spread over the entire year to accommodate the large dialysis population in certain units.

Moreover, once nurses are familiarized to the structure of such a program, the probability of missing important interventions diminish; for instance, the annual history and physical examination. The thrice a week schedule also helps in implementing certain interventions logistically. They include: immunization, spe­cifically against influenza, pneumococcal vaccination and DT boosters may be given on alternate days in the "immunization week" before the onset of the "flu season". Finally, since most of the "interventions" are pre-requisites of a renal transplant program, patients may automatically get worked up for transplant­ation, barring specific additional requirements.


   Disadvantages Top


Patients may potentially perceive these primary care interventions as an additional "burden" and may not comply with visits "outside" the unit. This may be particularly true if procedures are felt to be cumbersome and long "on dialysis days" and requiring additional transportation/visits on "non-dialysis days".


   The King Fahad National Guard Hospital Program for Primary Care of Hemodialysis Patients Top


This program was conceived in the summer of 2000 and initiated in September 2000 as a pilot program to be re-evaluated in sub­sequent years.

Aims

In the absence of formal primary care guide­lines for patients with ESRD, our program aims to introduce a comprehensive, annual time frame for providing routine and dialysis specific primary care services, modified from the US Preventive Services task force recommend­ations.

Methods

After informed consent, all 102 chronic hemo­dialysis (HD) patients at the King Fahad National Guard Hospital, Riyadh were enrolled in the primary care program in September 2000. [7] The outline of the "annual time-table" format was approved by the Hospital Admini­stration as well as chairpersons/ divisional heads of all involved departments/ divisions. A comprehensive "in-service" was conducted for the physicians and nurses responsible for routine care of the HD patients. Fourteen age and sex specific appropriately indicated primary care tests, examinations, immunizations and interventions were performed according to our modified annual time-table. [Figure - 1].

Dialysis-specific monitoring and multi­disciplinary meetings were continued as per our pre-existing standards. Appropriate thera­peutic interventions and case-specific referrals were performed. Each area of intervention was deemed to be highly successful (more than 66% or two-thirds compliance), moderately successful (50% to 66% compliance) or un­successful (less than 50% compliance).


   Results Top


We were successfully able to implement 9/14 (65%) of our targeted primary care intervent­ions in our HD population in our pilot year. Amongst our unsuccessful interventions 5/14 (35%), the failure of our flexible sigmoidoscopy program may have long-term consequences, when extrapolated to the general population. This may necessitate renewed efforts at patient education in subsequent years. Hence, most of our interventions were accomplished in the dialysis unit, e.g. history and physical exam, breast exams, screening for prostate specific antigen, immunization program, lipid profiling and testing stool for occult blood. Where our success was modest or uninspiring it was in areas where patients had to undergo specific appointments and scheduling in addition to their thrice-weekly dialysis, e.g.  Pap smear More Details and flexible sigmoidoscopy. Some of the areas, perhaps eye and ENT screening needed to be scheduled on dialysis days, in the absence of which very poor compliance was noted [Table - 1].


   Discussion Top


We, at the King Fahad National Guard Hospital believe that for the HD population, already burdened with a thrice a week dialysis schedule, nephrologist-directed primary care is a multidisciplinary process and needs to be spread over the entire year. Success in imple­menting this process is largely dependent on working around the dialysis schedule. Hence, most of our interventions were accomplished in the dialysis unit, e.g. history and physical exam, breast exams, PSA screen, immunization program, lipid profiling and stool test for occult blood. Where our success was modest or uninspiring was in areas where patients had to undergo specific appointments and schedu­ling in addition to their thrice-weekly dialysis, e.g. pap smear and flexible sigmoidoscopy. Some of the areas such as eye and ENT screening needed to be scheduled on dialysis days, in the absence of which very poor compliance was noted.

Our annual "time-table" appears to provide a practical, efficient and administratively acceptable format for providing nephrologist directed primary care to the HD population, hitherto not described in the literature. Future data from this primary care program may yield the long­term effects on morbidity and mortality in our dialysis population.

The long-term impact and costs could be looked at over subsequent years but in general, most interventions implemented are well established cost-effective screening tools.


   Acknowledgement Top


Junaid Qureshi, Hammad Raza, Fahad Al Kanhal, Carol Lum, Bella May Loria, Catherine Powell, Danlami Z. Tanimu, Ghormullah Al Ghamdi, Ahmed Al Flaiw, Zuhair M. Abunijem and all involved departments and secretarial assistance, particularly Ma. Sofia Claridad.

 
   References Top

1.Bender FH, Holley JL. Most nephrologists are primary care providers for chronic dialysis patients: results of a national survey. Am J Kidney Dis 1996;28(1):67-71.  Back to cited text no. 1    
2.Gipson D, Katz LA, Stehman-Breen C. Principles of dialysis: special issues in women. Semin Nephrol 1999;19(2):140-7.  Back to cited text no. 2    
3.Neu AM, Fivush BA. Immunization for pediatric dialysis patients. Adv Ren Replac Ther 2000;7(3):239-46.  Back to cited text no. 3    
4.Sarnak MJ, Levey AS. Cardiovascular disease and chronic renal disease: a new paradigm. Am J Kidney Dis 2000;35(4 Suppl 1):S117-31.  Back to cited text no. 4    
5.Holley JL. Nephrologists as primary care providers: a review of the issues. Am J Kidney Dis 1998;31(4):574-83.  Back to cited text no. 5    
6.US Public Health Service 1994  Back to cited text no. 6    
7.Quadri KH, Kanhal F, Qureshi JI, et al. A primary care program for hemodialysis patients. Abstract JASN, A1229 September 2001. Poster presentation at joint ASN/WCN Annual meeting 2001.  Back to cited text no. 7    

Top
Correspondence Address:
Khaja H. Mujtaba Quadri
Division of Nephrology and Hypertension, Department of Medicine, King Fahad National Guard Hospital, P.O. Box 22490, Riyadh 11426
Saudi Arabia
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PMID: 17642797

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    Abstract
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    Advantages of a ...
    Disadvantages
    The King Fahad N...
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