There are many national and community resources for patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD), but I will focus on the three possibly biggest ones. These are the National Kidney Foundation, the American Association of Kidney Patients, and the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. These resources have provided numerous data to various researches of CKD and started different education programs for their patients to keep them informed about their disease, risks, required treatment, and medicines.
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National Resources of CKD
The first resource examined in this paper is the National Kidney Foundation (NKF). It was founded in 1950 under the name Committee for Nephrosis Research. To prevent and educate citizens with CDK, NKF aims to raise awareness via the national multimedia campaign, inform and provide screening to at-risk individuals, empower these individuals to have tests, publish the data gathered from the treatments, enable access to kidney transplantation, etc. (National Kidney Foundation, 2013b, p. 10).
NKF also publishes numerous journals about the CDK and provides a free subscription to them. Such a developed program and free education materials can be considered as benefits. There are many activities the Foundation offers: some of them (e.g. program lecture Urgent and Non-Urgent Hyperkalemia or CKDinform: Early Detection and Prevention) are free both for members and non-members of the Foundation, while others, technicians and nurses-oriented, cost 25$ for non-members of the foundation (National Kidney Foundation, 2013a, p. 12).
Eligibility criteria require service to the Foundation either on a local or a national/international level; the online application process becomes possible when an individual meets the eligibility criteria, and no fee is required. The Foundation also provides transportation for eligible patients, but only in Pennsylvania, according to its website (National Kidney Foundation, 2013a, p. 19). The NKF seems to be a reliable and well-funded resource.
The American Association of Kidney Patients (AAKP) also encourages patients to educate themselves on the CKD. The Association arranges national patients’ meetings, develops their website ‘Get To Know Kidney Disease,’ offers a free online app ‘myHealth’ to save users’ medical data (The American Association of Kidney Patients, 2016a, p. 3). The resource provides different memberships, including ‘patient/family’ (0$), ‘professional’ (45$/y), ‘physician’ (100$/y), ‘institutional’ (200$/y), and life member (1000$); the membership gives users access to resources from the website (The American Association of Kidney Patients, 2016a, p. 5).
The AAKP has different programs for patients with CKD: ‘Health Insurance Premium Program’ is only for dialysis patients, while ‘Safety Net Program’ is accessible both for dialysis and transplant patients (The American Association of Kidney Patients, 2016b). The application process is available through the ‘membership’ option; various programs and grants of the AAKP cover the transportation (e.g., ‘Safety Net Program’) (The American Association of Kidney Patients, 2016b). This resource is younger than NKF but provides programs as helpful as those from NKF.
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases is successfully providing their patients and users of their website with various information about the CKD. The program is called the National Kidney Disease Education Program and includes info about testing, diet, medicines, and treatment. NKDEP Laboratory Working Group consists of national and international professionals who, among others, collect data to improve treatment; this is definitely a benefit for the patients.
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Within the program, working groups were created: both to improve lab measurement, help pharmacists educate their patients, and optimize and spread the data about CKD (National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, 2014). The NIDDK offers financial help in case of kidney failure; the eligibility criteria include people who are 65 years old or older, younger than 65 but who have certain disabilities, or any age with end-stage renal disease (2014).
Medicare consists of three parts that cover different ways of treatment (hospital, hospice, medications, etc.); enrollment in Medicare is possible via their website or phone (National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, 2014). Apparently, the NIDDK does not provide transportation in terms of its programs, but it offers links to the firms that do. The advantage of the NIDDK is its education program that is helpful for patients of any age.
Integrating Resources in the Plan of Care
Since every resource has various medical and education programs, it would be useful to exploit them in the plan of care. Every resource should be referred to in the plan of care, their website page, and phone number (better two or more numbers because not all of them might be available) mentioned, as well as a brief description of the programs they offer. This list may help both the nurse and the patient in further treatment, and make it easier due to information gathered from the web pages.
Vulnerable Populations and National Resources
The national resources discussed in this paper offer various programs for vulnerable populations too. The advantage of these programs is that they may cover all the expenses needed for treatment or even transplantation; they focus on children, elderly, pregnant women, people with disabilities who may not have a high income or do not have any at all. The resources cooperate with charities that can also help special populations and their families.
However, it is not always possible to enroll in a program due to big amount of participants; some of the vulnerable population groups are not able to travel (due to illness or low income), and not all programs cover transportation; patients living in rural or distant areas restrain from seeking medical care because it is not available anywhere nearby (Brundisini et al., 2013, p. 23). Some of the programs require a membership that can also be too expensive for vulnerable populations.
Brundisini, F., Giacomini, M., DeJean, D., Vanstone, M., Winsor, S., & Smith, A. (2013). Chronic disease patients’ experiences with accessing health care in rural and remote areas: a systematic review and qualitative meta-synthesis. Ont Health Technol Assess Ser, 13(15), 1-33.
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. (2014). Kidney Disease. Web.
National Kidney Foundation. (2013a). Planning for Emergencies: A Guide for People with Chronic Kidney Disease. Web.
National Kidney Foundation. (2013b). Strategic Plan 2013 – 2018. Web.
The American Association of Kidney Patients. (2016a). Aakp RENALIFE 2016 Media Kit. Web.
The American Association of Kidney Patients. (2016b). Tackling The Financial Challenges Of Kidney Disease. Web.