Kidney Disease

Kidney Survey Identifies Barriers to Dialysis Adherence

Younger patients with kidney failure are less likely to adhere to their prescribed treatment regimens compared with older patients, according to recent findings from an American Kidney Fund (AKF) survey.

The survey, which garnered responses from 1200 dialysis patients and 400 renal professionals, indicated that depression was a top contributing factor for nonadherence in all age groups. The rate of depression among respondents aged 18 to 39 years was nearly twice that of older respondents.

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“A diagnosis of kidney failure is life-changing, and dialysis can be challenging, especially at the outset, when many patients report feeling depressed,” said LaVarne A. Burton, president and CEO of the AKF.

“Because depression plays such a large role in treatment nonadherence, it’s incumbent upon the entire renal community to work together to find ways to address this and support patients,” she continued.

Consequences of nonadherence can include hospitalizations, adverse health effects, and even death.

Other key findings from the survey were:

  • Forgetfulness was the number one reason for medication nonadherence (69%).
  • Ineffective communication between patients and providers, insufficient time and resources to communicate health information, and language barriers were also cited as barriers to medication adherence.
  • Feelings of sadness, nervousness, or fear lowered adherence in more than 40% of patients.
  • Approximately 58% of patients reported nonadherence to dietary recommendations.
  • Support from family members and other non-medical caregivers can help improve adherence to diet and exercised regimens.

—Christina Vogt


Younger dialysis patients and those with depression more likely to struggle with prescribed treatment regimen, American Kidney Fund survey finds [press release]. Rockville, MD. American Kidney Fund. March 21, 2018. Accessed on March 22, 2018.