P. 6

Choosing conservative care

          The decision to choose

          conservative care is always

          made following lengthy
          discussion with your renal

          consultant. It may be a better

          choice for you if dialysis is
          unlikely to improve your quality                                                Conservative

          or length of life, or if dialysis                                                 care is an

          may significantly reduce your                                                     accepted
                                                                                       treatment option
          overall enjoyment of life.
                                                                                           when your

        The aim of conservative care is     what each treatment can offer.                kidneys fail.
        to manage the symptoms of           This way you can be sure you
        kidney failure without using        are fully informed and have         dialysis treatment. You may feel
        dialysis. Conservative care         thoroughly explored all             that dialysis will have too great
        includes medical, emotional and     possibilities. Be guided by your    an effect on your life and the
        practical support. Studies have     renal doctor and nurses and your    likely benefit from dialysis
        shown that conservative care of     GP, all of whom know your           treatment may not be worth it.
        frail elderly people with kidney    medical and social history.         You may feel that travelling to
        failure can achieve a similar life  However, it is likely that you and  and from a dialysis unit, often in
        span and quality of life when       your family will need help when     addition to other hospital
        compared to frail elderly people    making decisions about which        appointments, will be too
        on dialysis. In other words, if you  treatment will suit you best. Try  demanding and will interfere
        are frail and elderly and have a    not to make a decision to decline   with your lifestyle and normal
        complicated medical history, you    dialysis when you are feeling       daily activities. Also, you may
        may live just as long with          depressed or you are not fully      feel that you have lived your life
        conservative care as you would      aware of the consequences of        and that you are now too elderly
        with dialysis treatment.            your decision.                      or too frail to benefit from
                                                                                treatment, even though age is

        It is important that you do not     There are many reasons why          not usually a barrier to starting
        rush into making a decision         you might decide not to start       dialysis.
        about the treatment options
        available to you. Gather as much                   The aims of conservative care
        information as you can through         To prevent and treat the symptoms of kidney failure
        reading and through discussions,
                                               To preserve remaining kidney function
        with your healthcare team, at
                                               To achieve the best quality of life
        your hospital visits.
                                               To spend less time in hospital
        When weighing up the                   To give practical and emotional support
        advantages of each treatment,
                                               To let you voice your future treatment wishes
        you should discuss, in detail,

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