Advanced Care Planning

Today’s treatments for kidney failure can allow you to enjoy your life with family and friends. Dialysis is a life-sustaining treatment, but it is not a cure. Most people with kidney failure have other diseases or conditions that get worse over time. At some point, you could face failing health and the end of life.

Looking ahead can be overwhelming, but you can gain some control by telling your healthcare providers and family about your wishes for care as your disease progresses. This will also make it easier for them to make decisions for you if you become too sick to make decisions yourself.

All of these decisions are called advance care planning, which is simply making choices about your care before you need it. It is helpful to understand the progression of your illness, what is expected to happen, and your treatment options that include not having dialysis. Your physician should help you to identify the care you want and to fully understand what your journey may be.

Your dialysis facility staff can work with you to put some of these decisions in writing—an advance directive—so you can have peace of mind about your future. You can always change any of your decisions later; they are not set in stone.

Care planning resources: