One of the key components of multidisciplinary CKD clinics is education; however, kidney disease knowledge among patients followed in these clinics is not routinely measured.
The aim of this study was to determine objective and perceived kidney disease knowledge and patient characteristics associated with knowledge among patients followed in a multi-care kidney clinic.
This is a cross-sectional survey study.
This study was conducted in a multi-care kidney clinic in Ontario, Canada.
Patients who did not speak English, who were unable to read due to significant vision impairment, or who had a known history of dementia or significant cognitive impairment were excluded.
Perceived kidney disease knowledge was evaluated using a previously validated 9-item survey (PiKS). Each question on the perceived knowledge survey had 4 possible responses, ranging from “I don’t know anything” (1) to “I know a lot” (4). Objective kidney disease knowledge was evaluated using a previously validated survey (KiKS).
The association between patient characteristics and perceived and objective kidney disease knowledge was determined using linear regression.
A total of 125 patients were included, 57% were male, the mean (SD) age and eGFR were 66 (13) years and 16 (5.9) mL/min/1.73 m2, respectively. The median (IQR) objective and perceived knowledge survey scores were 19 out of 27 (16, 21) and 2.9 out of 4 (2.4, 3.2), respectively. Only 25% of patients answered correctly that CKD can be associated with no symptoms, and 64% of patients identified correctly that the kidneys make urine. More than 60% of patients perceived themselves to know nothing or only a little about medications that help or hurt the kidney. Older age was independently associated with lower perceived and objective knowledge, but sex, income, and educational attainment were not.
This is a single-center study. Cognitive impairment was based on the treating team’s informal assessment or prior documentation in the chart; formal cognitive testing was not performed as part of this study.
Despite resource-intensive care, CKD knowledge of patients followed in a multidisciplinary clinic was found to be modest. Whether enhanced educational strategies can improve knowledge and whether increasing knowledge improves patient outcomes warrants further study.