NKF Michigan’s Pilot Kidney Care Options Education Program Helps Reduce Barriers to Patient Choice
The successful Kidney PATH Program enhanced its kidney care options curriculum after a pilot test showed that adding kidney failure treatment option education—including on home hemodialysis—positively impacted participants.
For years, the National Kidney Foundation of Michigan (NKFM) has been offering creative community-based health programs that bring together underserved populations living with a range of health challenges to learn strategies for achieving a high quality of life. Now, after a successful pilot test, its popular and interactive chronic kidney disease (CKD) self-management program, Kidney PATH (Personal Action Toward Health), has enhanced its nearly 10-year-old program with added treatment modalities-specific content to help inform those nearing or recently diagnosed with kidney failure.
As outlined in a previous blog story, the purpose of the updated kidney care options curriculum, piloted in 2021 and 2022 and sponsored by Outset Medical, is to help empower patients with or approaching CKD to better understand their options for home hemodialysis (HHD), kidney transplant, in-center hemodialysis (ICHD) and peritoneal dialysis (PD).
Kidney PATH is an eight-week workshop for participants in various stages of CKD, that meets for 2.5 hours per week. The first six weeks are the Chronic Disease Self-Management Program (CDSMP), an evidence-based program developed and licensed by the Self-Management Resource Center. The last two weeks are bonus sessions developed by the NKFM that focus on kidney disease and treatment modalities.
Caitlin Buechley, Senior Program Coordinator of patient services and prevention programs at NKFM, says that Kidney PATH used to cater primarily to patients already on some form of dialysis. With this enhanced treatment option curriculum, the kidney care options education program appeals more to patients in the earlier stages as they prepare for chronic treatment.
“We have continued to use the Outset-developed curriculum, and it has gone very well,” she says. “We expanded our transplant education content and also added information on HHD and other treatment options.”
As part of NKFM’s regular assessments, participating patients are surveyed pre- and post-program*. Results show that over the past few years, participants report higher overall scores after taking its kidney care options education program in terms of increased self-efficacy with managing their condition. They are now also assessing participants’ views following the eight-week Kidney PATH program about the new add-on kidney failure treatment-focused content, with very encouraging results.
Treatment Option Education Beneficial to Patients
As part of the pilot program, post-event survey questions were added to evaluate effectiveness of the piloted treatment modalities-specific content in terms of changing knowledge, attitudes and willingness to choose specific modalities. Survey results from a small group of respondents, summarized below, showed that attendees did come away from this novel kidney care options program with a greater understanding about HHD and the other treatment options.
PD and Transplant Lead in Information from Care Team
Workshop participants indicated that they received the most treatment option information from their care team about peritoneal dialysis (PD) and transplant, followed by ICHD and HHD.
ICHD and PD Most Encouraged by Care Team
Kidney PATH participants reported that they were most encouraged to try ICHD and PD, with HHD and transplant scoring lower.
Patient Lifestyle Fit: Transplant and ICHD Rated Highest
Participants rated kidney transplant as the best fit for their lifestyle, followed by ICHD and HHD.
Level of Information and Support
Kidney PATH participants in the pilot workshops came away with positive ratings for having learned new information about their kidney failure treatment options, and that they know how to talk to their doctor about it. They also indicated they have the support needed to manage their treatment.
Future Implications for Kidney Care Options Education
As the results from this successful pilot program show, NKFM’s Kidney PATH program and the new add-on treatment modality education is beneficial to patients and their families being impacted by CKD. There are still unmet opportunities, in this community-based kidney care options education program and many others across the country, to expand thoughtful and patient-centered outreach to the vulnerable and growing CKD patient population. Community-based programs like Kidney PATH can serve as an effective conduit to help boost awareness and adoption of less frequently used but patient-empowering home dialysis, and help reduce long-standing disparities in kidney health.
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The NKFM Kidney PATH workshop program was sponsored in part by Ascension Health, the University of Michigan Transplant Center, and Outset Medical. This report was compiled from data retrieved from three Kidney PATH workshops held via Zoom between April and August 2021.
The following forms were used to accrue this data: Participant Information Form, Attendance Form, Evaluations Forms, and Pre and Post Kidney PATH Survey. These forms were developed by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and the National Kidney Foundation of Michigan, respectively. New evaluation questions were developed by the National Kidney Foundation of Michigan and Outset Medical.