Caregiving for Kidney Related Conditions: Information and Advice

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About Kidneys

Healthy kidneys or renal function plays a crucial role in the human body. Kidneys perform several critical actions including:

  1. Maintain fluid balance by flushing excess fluids from the body
  2. Filter waste and toxins from the body
  3. Balance salts and minerals in your blood
  4. Produce hormones that help maintain your blood pressure and create red blood cells

When the kidneys are functioning well, the human body can work properly to process and eliminate waste. This is essential to good health and the function of other key organs. Continued decline in the function of kidneys caused by infection, disease, chronic conditions, or lifestyle habits can lead to devastating long-term impacts. Progressive worsening kidney conditions can cause renal failure which has to be managed by either dialysis or a kidney transplant procedure. Both options require 24/7 care by highly trained professionals who are experienced in renal caregiving. 

Kidney Conditions: Symptoms and Care Required

Condition UTI (Urinary Tract Infection CKD (Chronic Kidney Disease) PKD (Polycystic Kidney Disease) Nephropathy Kidney Stones Cystinosis Lupus Nephritis Glomerulonephritis
  • Pain or burning when urinating
  • Urgent need to urinate frequently
  • Commonly occur in aging patients unable to use the bathroom independently
  • Blood in urine
  • Swollen ankles, feet, and hands caused by edema
  • Frequent nighttime urination
  • High blood pressure
  • Blood in urine
  • Abdominal swelling due to enlarged kidneys
  • Kidney stones
  • Common complications of diabetes
  • Protein in urine
  • Shortness of breath
  • Increased and urgent frequent urination
  • Caused by chemicals in your urine
  • Severe pain in the lower back
  • Blood in urine
  • Constant stomach pain
  • Rare genetic condition 
  • Crystals form in the body and on organs
  • Symptoms vary based on diagnosis and treatment
  • Kidney inflammation caused by lupus
  • Excessive fluid builds up in the body
  • Foamy urine
  • High blood pressure
  • Common in children with lupus
  • Inflammation of the glomerulus (part of the kidney that filters toxins)
  • Toxins and waste are not filtered out properly causing swelling (edema)
  • Foamy, pink colored urine
  • High blood pressure
Care Required
  • Typically managed with medication
  • Live-in care is recommended if going to the bathroom, toilet, and bathing independently is limited
  • Managed with diet, exercise, and medication
  • Live-in care recommended due to its progressive nature 
  • Unmanaged CKD can lead to kidney failure requiring dialysis and/ or transplant options
  • Genetic disorder requiring medication, dialysis, ventilation, kidney transplant, and pain management
  • Live-in care is recommended to provide support and daily oversight of treatment
  • Symptom management with medication, dialysis, or kidney transplant
  • Live-in care is recommended to help with all stages of care
  • Managed with medication, medical procedures, and diet
  • Live-in care recommended for patients with limited mobility and lucidity
  • Medication and treatment
  • Live-in care is recommended to provide support for dialysis, transplant care, and quality of life care
  • Medication and dietary changes
  • Occasionally dialysis or kidney transplant
  • Live-in care recommender to help with the complex treatment of lupus
  • Medication and dietary changes
  • Live-in care recommended for symptom management

Kidney Function, Symptoms, and Care

Almost all kidney-related conditions are progressive in nature. If diagnosed early enough, and managed with medication, diet, and lifestyle changes, it’s possible to slow down the rate of progression. However, most conditions are not reversible and require a lifetime of symptom management, and eventually, care. 

Most kidney conditions or kidney diseases are diagnosed with an eGFR test which measures the level of kidney function. The level of kidney function determines the 5 stages of kidney disease. Stages 1-3 are considered early stages with mild kidney damage. Typically, the kidneys only have mild to moderate damage and most patients can have an improved quality of life. Stages 4-5 are considered advanced or late-stage kidney disease. There is severe damage to the kidneys, and they are close to not working or actively failing. Dialysis or kidney transplant surgery are options at this stage.

In-home Care for Kidney Conditions

Live-in care can be minimized to hourly caregivers during the early stages of kidney disease. Since medication, diet, and lifestyle changes are integral to curbing long-term kidney damage, hourly care in the early stages is valuable to ensure that those treatment plans are being utilized and followed. 

Late stages of kidney disease require 24/7, live-in care to manage medications, often painful symptoms, and frequent doctor or hospital visits for dialysis. 

Both early and late-stage patients can benefit greatly from the assistance that hourly and live-in caregivers provide:

  • Light housekeeping
  • Personal care
  • Assisting with going to the bathroom, bathing, and dressing
  • Meal preparation and grocery
  • Overseeing medication 
  • Organizing non-emergency medical transportation to and from dialysis, or doctor’s visits

Caregivers are typically home health aides who can help with personal tasks, advocating for the patient at appointments, and liaising between the doctor, the patient, and their family. Caregivers provide updates on the prognosis, and treatment plans, and prepare the patient and their family for the next steps. 

Kidney Transplant: Causes, Post-op Care, and Caregiving

In 2022, there were over 24,000 kidney transplant procedures in the United States. The success rate of kidney transplant procedures is above 90% on average. An essential component of these statistics is the quality of post-op care for kidney transplant patients. This is crucial to their recovery and survival rates.

Kidney transplant cases require a skillfully trained and experienced caregiver. These caregivers can provide more clinically focused care at home. They have the necessary skills to monitor potential complications and care for post-op patients. They can also perform procedures or treatments like Hemodialysis at home if needed. This level of clinical care is provided by LVNs (licensed vocational nurses) or RNs (registered nurses) whose responsibilities include the following:

  • Update patient medical charts 
  • Clean and change post-surgical dressings
  • Administer and oversee medication intake 
  • Sterilize and manage any medical equipment needed for post-op care at home
  • Ability to monitor and record vital signs

Another key difference between home health aides who provide more generalized caregiving and LVNs or RNs who provide clinical care is their charges. 

Caregiver charges vary from $27-35/ hourly for 24-hour/1-week minimum shifts.  By comparison, registered nursing staff charges vary from $60-135/hour depending on the expertise, experience, and required schedule. 

In-home Care Across Dallas and Ft. Worth

At Care Mountain, we are experienced in providing in-home care and support for you or your loved ones. Our expert caregivers understand the multifaceted care that kidney conditions require. Our thorough hiring process and extensive background checks ensure quality caregivers across all specialties. Our tenure in the field of in-home caregiving gives us a competitive edge as we provide expert care across Dallas and Ft. Worth.  

Kidney-related conditions require 24/7 medical, personal, and emotional care. Dialysis treatments require extensive travel to appointments. Post-transplant care necessitates medical caregiving. These are full-time and experienced caregiver requirements that would be challenging for any family member to try and oversee. 

Care Mountain’s extensive network of in-home caregivers provides support across the Metroplex from Plano, Allen, McKinney, Preston Hollow, Dallas, Highland Park, Fort Worth, and Southlake, to Arlington, and many more. Contact us today to see how we can provide 24 /7 care to help you or your loved ones.

2022-06-16 18:52:28

Caregiving for Kidney Related Conditions: Information and Advice