The American Kidney Fund (AKF) has launched a nationwide study examining the factors that can make it difficult for people who are on dialysis to adhere consistently to their prescribed treatment regimens. This study, funded by Amgen, seeks to identify reasons for non-adherence so that appropriate patient interventions may be designed.

The treatment regimen for dialysis patients is demanding: medication, regular dialysis treatment, and strict fluid and diet restrictions.

“Kidney failure is an enormously difficult condition to live with, and it’s crucial that we gain a better understanding of the unique challenges patients face in their daily care management,” said LaVarne A. Burton, president and chief executive officer of the American Kidney Fund. “With that knowledge, we’ll be able to develop education programs and interventions to help patients overcome barriers to adherence and improve their health.”

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Administered by Ipsos Public Affairs, the AKF study is gathering information from dialysis patients, social workers, dietitians, nephrologists, nurses and other health care providers. The first phase of the study used in-depth interviews with patients and kidney care professionals to identify and better understand potential barriers to adherence. The second phase of the study is a nationwide survey of a representative sample of nearly 1,200 dialysis patients and more than 350 kidney care professionals.

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Burton noted that the results of the study, while specific to dialysis patients, may provide insights that can be applied to patients dealing with other chronic health conditions, as well. The study will also help medical professionals identify patients at high risk for adherence challenges, enabling them to intervene preemptively.

AKF said they will complete the study in mid-2016.