Kimberley Aboriginal Services Council Inc Kimberley Aboriginal Medical Services Council Research

Palliative care in end stage kidney disease: Are we meeting the needs of our Indigenous clients?

Palliative care has been integrated into the kidney disease pathway care plan in the last few years. However no study to date has been done to ascertain if we are meeting the needs of our renal clients in their last days and weeks of life. As the burden of kidney disease has reached epidemic proportions in the Kimberley it is important to ensure that renal clients have an understanding of palliative care and the support it can provide. In order to deliver a quality service in line with the National guidelines it is imperative that we seek clarification from our Aboriginal clients on what their needs are in end of life care. This will help determine if we are meeting the needs of our Aboriginal renal clients.

We will conduct a twofold study to investigate this question further. Firstly a retrospective case note study from 5-10 renal clients who either opted to discontinue dialysis or renal replacement therapy was no longer an option. We will identify their use, if any, of palliative care and when discussions around end of life took place.

The second part of the project will be a qualitative investigation in the form of open ended interviews with a cohort of 10-12 renal clients. The participants will be from amongst the clients who attend the Kimberley Satellite Dialysis Centre. Questions will be aimed at learning end of life wishes, palliative care conceptions and when initial palliative care discussions first began and how these were perceived. This will give insight into the expectations of clients in their last days and weeks of life and their understanding of palliative care.

It is hoped that following evaluation of this research it will inform future program development and improve quality of palliative care service delivery for renal clients in a culturally appropriate and timely manner.



  • Jenny Costigan
  • Assoc Prof Julia Marley
  • Prof David Atkinson

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