Also known as end-stage renal disease (ESRD), end-stage kidney disease is when the kidneys lose the ability to function and filter excess fluids from the blood, creating a build-up within the body. It is the final stages of chronic kidney disease.
When your kidneys fail, it means they have stopped working well enough to survive without dialysis or a kidney transplant.
In cases when people are unable to receive dialysis or a transplant, or these treatments may not work, patients can choose hospice care. Hospice helps keep patients comfortable by controlling pain and other symptoms.
Symptom relief is essential to end-stage kidney-disease patients, as their quality of life is often reduced by multiple symptoms including fatigue, cramping, and more.
Kidney disease usually progresses slowly, and you may not have symptoms until the disease is severe. Symptoms can include:
Common complications of end-stage kidney disease include:
People with end-stage kidney disease can benefit from palliative or hospice care, which focus on relieving symptoms and maximizing quality of life.
Palliative care can be given at any time during the course of kidney disease (or other serious illness). Hospice care is available to people whose life expectancy is six months or less.
Palliative/hospice providers can help patients and families make decisions about care. These decisions are especially important for older patients and those with multiple serious illnesses. In each situation, palliative/hospice providers can provide expert counselling to patients and families, and offer alternatives to dialysis that help patients stay as healthy as possible. Furthermore, hospice offers emotional and spiritual support to patients and families as they make these difficult decisions.