Protected: Palliative and Supportive Dialysis: Current Practices and Recommendations for Best Clinical Practice


“Palliative dialysis” is defined as the renal replacement therapy directed to patients living the most critical phases of illness and the end-of-life stage. Offering targeted dialysis prescriptions becomes imperative when health conditions, along with comorbidities, unfavorable prognosis and complications, do not allow standard dialysis to be started or continued. Management should also integrate adequate supportive care measures in both incident and prevalent patients.

This document summarizes nephrological recommendations and scientifical evidence regarding the palliative approach to dialysis, and proposes operative tools for a good clinical practice. After planning and sharing the route of care (“shared-decision-making”), which includes multidimensional evaluation of the patient, a pathway of treatment should be started, focusing on combining the therapeutical available options, adequacy and proportionality of care and patients’ preferences.

We propose a framework of indications that could help the nephrologist in practicing appropriate measures of treatment in patients’ frailest conditions, with the aim of reducing the burden of dialysis, improving quality of life, providing a better control of symptoms, decreasing the hospitalization rates in the end-of-life stage and promoting a home-centered form of care. Such a decisional pathway is nowadays increasingly needed in nephrology practice, but not standardized yet.

Keywords: palliative care, chronic kidney disease, end-of-life, palliative dialysis, hemodialysis, peritoneal dialysis, shared-decision-making

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