Many Chronic Kidney Disease patients who conduct Dialysis must manage the day-to-day health challenges that come with their treatments and underlying Kidney Failure. However for many, it is financial burdens that accompany Dialysis Treatments which create the most extreme emotional stress. Financial distress typically comes from the fact that 71% of Dialysis patients are entirely unemployed which is much higher than the 9.9% unemployment in the general population, and must live on a fixed income . Now research is suggesting that Dialysis patients are increasingly living in "poor areas" which may ultimately impact care and even survival given findings in other studies.
More than one-third (34%) of Dialysis patients in the United States live in what are considered poor neighborhoods, according to the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services data. Published in the journal Hemodialysis International, Researchers at Loyola University Chicago (Stritch School of Medicine) suggested that between 2005 and 2010 - 34% of Dialysis patients lived in poor neighborhoods as compared to only 12.5% of the regular population.
The exact reason for the correlation between Dialysis patients and increased poverty or living in poor zip codes is not clear. However, researchers believe that it may relate to lack of access to reliable primary medical care, and as a result they end-up on Dialysis.
Separate studies have also found that healthcare in poor areas is related to increased mortality rates in patients. A Johns Hopkins study further discovered that the geographic location "appears to affect the very survival of people with End-Stage Kidney Disease in need of Dialysis." Senior Investigator, Dr. Mahmoud Malas calls the disparity, "profoundly troubling because the quality of care shouldn’t be predicated on your ZIP code.”
If you are a Dialysis patient that lives in a lower income area then you should be even more watchful that you are receiving the best care possible. Therefore, if you notice high rates of infections, complications or regular lapse in procedures (washing hands or changing gloves) at your Dialysis Facilities or local hospitals then bring them to the immediate attention of your Nephrologists. Do not hesitate because your very life may be at risk. If the issue is not corrected promptly, then contact your regional End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) Network (click here). ESRD Networks work on behalf of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to improve quality of care for Dialysis patients as well as evaluate and resolve patient grievances. Of course patients in affluent areas should also feel comfortable resorting to their ESRD Network Regional Office if necessary.
Also, if a Dialysis patient's financial standing is impacting his/her care, then consider financial assistance programs such as that of The American Kidney Fund which provides assistance for Dialysis patients through major Financial Assistance Programs. If you would like to know more about Financial Assistance available for you, then complete the below form.
Do you live in a poor zip code, and does the fact that you conduct Dialysis impact your ability to live outside of a poor neighborhood? What do you do to improve your health outcomes? Weigh in and share your response(s) with the over 24,000 KidneyBuzz.com Facebook Fan Page Friends (click here). What's more, for the Latest Breaking News and Information which teaches those with Chronic Kidney Disease, Dialysis and Diabetes how to better manage and improve their lives, visit KidneyBuzz.com every day.