Conservative care for ESRD in the United Kingdom: a national survey

Ikumi Okamoto, Sarah Tonkin-Crine, Hugh Rayner, Fliss E M Murtagh, Ken Farrington, Fergus Caskey, Charles Tomson, Fiona Loud, Roger Greenwood, Donal J O'Donoghue, Paul Roderick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Conservative kidney management (CKM) has been developed in the United Kingdom (UK) as an alternative to dialysis for older patients with stage 5 CKD (CKD5) and multiple comorbidities. This national survey sought to describe the current scale and pattern of delivery of conservative care in UK renal units and identify their priorities for its future development.

DESIGN, SETTING, PARTICIPANTS, & MEASUREMENTS: A survey on practice patterns of CKM for patients age 75 and older with CKD5 was sent to clinical directors of all 71 adult renal units in the UK in March 2013.

RESULTS: Sixty-seven units (94%) responded. All but one unit reported providing CKM for some patients. Terminology varied, although "conservative management" was the most frequently used term (46%). Lack of an agreed-upon definition of when a patient is receiving CKM made it difficult to obtain meaningful data on the numbers of such patients. Fifty-two percent provided the number of CKM patients age ≥ 75 years in 2012; the median was 45 per unit (interquartile range [IQR], 20-83). The median number of symptomatic CKM patients who would otherwise have started dialysis was eight (IQR, 4.5-22). CKM practice patterns varied: 35% had a written guideline, 23% had dedicated CKM clinics, 45% had dedicated staff, and 50% provided staff training on CKM. Most units (88%) provided primary care clinicians with information/advice regarding CKM. Eighty percent identified a need for better evidence comparing outcomes on CKM versus dialysis, and 65% considered it appropriate to enter patients into a randomized trial.

CONCLUSIONS: CKM is provided in almost all UK renal units, but scale and organization vary widely. Lack of common terminology and definitions hinders the development and assessment of CKM. Many survey respondents expressed support for further research comparing outcomes with conservative care versus dialysis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)120-6
Number of pages7
JournalClinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (CJASN)
Issue number1
Early online dateNov 2014
Publication statusPublished - 7 Jan 2015


  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Comorbidity
  • Critical Pathways
  • Decision Support Techniques
  • Delivery of Health Care, Integrated
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Humans
  • Interdisciplinary Communication
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic
  • Palliative Care
  • Patient Care Team
  • Patient Selection
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians'
  • Process Assessment (Health Care)
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • United Kingdom
  • Journal Article


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