Referral and management options for patients with chronic kidney disease: Perspectives of patients, generalists and specialists

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Background: Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) is increasing in prevalence and significance as a global public health issue. Appropriate management of CKD stages 3-4 in either generalist or specialist care is essential in order to slow disease progression. As various consulting options between services may be used, it is important to understand how patients and practitioners view these options. Objective: To elicit patient and practitioner views and preferences on the acceptability and appropriateness of referral practices and consulting options for CKD stage 3-4. Design: A mixed methods approach involving a semi-structured interview and structured rating exercise administered by telephone. Setting & participants: Adult (18+) patients with CKD stage 3-4 were recruited via their General Practitioner (GP). Practitioners were recruited from both general and specialist services. Results: Sixteen patients and twenty-two practitioners participated in the study between July and September, 2011. Both patients and practitioners preferred 'GP with access to a specialist' and least preferred 'Specialist Review'. Computer review and telephone review were acceptable to participants under certain conditions. Practitioners favoured generalist management of patients with CKD 3. Specialists recommended active discharge of patients with stabilised stage 4 back to generalist care. Both generalists and specialists strongly supported sharing patients' medical records via electronic consultation systems. Conclusion: Participants tended to prefer the current model of CKD management. Suggested improvements included; increasing the involvement of patients in referral and discharge decisions; improving the adequacy of information given to specialists on referral and encouraging further use of clinical guidelines in practice.




Wilson, C., Campbell, S. M., Luker, K. A., & Caress, A. L. (2015). Referral and management options for patients with chronic kidney disease: Perspectives of patients, generalists and specialists. Health Expectations, 18(3), 325–334.

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