7 Most Likely Reasons for Hospitalizations Among Dialysis Patients

7 Most Likely Reasons for Hospitalizations Among Dialysis Patients

According to U.S Renal Data System, End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) patients are admitted to the hospital on average nearly twice a year and about 35% of these patients have a re-hospitalization within 30 days following discharge1. This is twice as high as for the patients of same age without ESRD (15%)1. It was also reported that ESRD patients spend on average 11 days in the hospital per year resulting in missing about 5 treatments. Unnecessary hospitalization results in not only a financial burden for the clinic and health system but also poor quality of life for the patients.

Some of the reasons for these hospitalizations include:

  • New dialysis patients starting with catheter as dialysis access and/or with fluid overload
  • Poor self-care skills possibly due to inadequate education
  • Patient lacked support at home to comply with self-care
  • Comorbid conditions such as diabetes and heart condition not being managed well
  • Missed treatments for various reasons causing fluids and toxins buildup in the system
  • Noncompliance with treatment plan
  • Poor coordination of care between care providers including dialysis centers

To decrease hospitalizations, we need to identify the root causes and then improve them. One of the most effective strategies would be to prevent readmissions. When the patient is discharged from the clinic, having a structured transition of care process will decrease the chance of readmission:

  • Connect with the hospital discharge planners to receive notification when patient is discharged from the hospital
  • Call patient day after discharge and set up the process of returning to the clinic
    • Encourage the patient to bring discharge instructions with them
    • Stress the importance of resuming the dialysis schedule
    • Check on any health concerns and advice or refer to right health professional
  • On the first treatment after discharge, assess patient’s fluid and functional status
  • Reinforce discharge instructions and assist with scheduling any specialists and Primary Care Physician appointments

Reducing the hospitalizations is clearly in the best interests of the patients, dialysis centers and hospitals. The two entities (dialysis center and hospitals) working together and sharing accountability will maximize the results and creates a patient-centered care approach.  Click here for more strategies on decreasing hospitalizations. You can also find this tool at the bottom of our home page.


  1. United States Renal Data System. Retrieved on August 10 2018. https://www.usrds.org/2017/view/v2_04.asp

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