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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Mony Fraer, MD, FACP, FASN (University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics)
Description: This book appears to be the first to address not only chronic kidney disease, but also the patient as a whole and as a person with a final goal of improving quality of life. It also emphasizes the need for a multidisciplinary team approach in order to achieve this goal.
Purpose: Patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) suffer from depression, anxiety, sexual dysfunction, and chronic pain, problems that are usually perceived as secondary by the caretakers. This book addresses these problems comprehensively.
Audience: This book is written for nephrologists, nurses, and social workers who take care of CKD patients. The social workers will find useful the chapters on palliative care programs, advanced directives and advance care planning, and support of the home dialysis patients.
Features: Many subjects covered in this book are not formally taught to nephrologists, including initiation and withdrawal of dialysis, end of life care, the time-limited trial of dialysis, evaluation of a request to stop dialysis, and the palliative care option. A special emphasis is placed on the spiritual care and the psychological aspects of renal disease. The chapters are constructed around case scenarios, making the reading more interesting and providing a connection with the problems encountered in real life. Out of all the excellent tables in the book, the ones that I found very helpful were: "Guidelines for the care of patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) who are in the last days of life in hospital" and the ones that outline the management of dialysis and ESRD-related symptoms.
Assessment: This is a valuable and useful book. It addresses topics not formally taught and often neglected in the nephrology community. The authors are experts in the field. I initially misjudged the book by an apparently unappealing title, but I found it to be extremely interesting and useful. I think it should be included in the core curriculum of every nephrology program.