Nephrology nurse practitioner model of care for chronic kidney disease: Lessons learned and informing future healthcare delivery

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Ann Bonner
Cassandra Stone
Louise Purtell
Kerri Gillespie


Advanced practice nursing, CKD, nephrology, Nurse Practitioner, renal


Background: Chronic kidney disease (CKD) affects more than 10% of the Australian adult population. It is a progressive disease that involves multiple physiological systems and is associated with several comorbid conditions, making it particularly burdensome on patients and the healthcare system. Alternative models of healthcare delivery are required to slow the progression to kidney failure.

Aim: To describe the characteristics, patient profiles, and health outcomes of patients with CKD attending a nephrology nurse practitioner-led clinic.

Design: Longitudinal health-service exploratory design.

Methods: Following ethics approval, data were extracted from a chronic kidney disease registry for all consenting patients who attended a nephrology nurse practitioner-led clinic. Data were analysed descriptively.

Results: Over the study period, 253 patients (122 male and 131 female) attended the clinic. The mean age was 70.27 ± 10.48 years, and at baseline most had either chronic kidney disease grade 3A (32.8%) or 3B (41.5%). For the majority of those who remained in the clinic, kidney function remained stable or slightly improved. A large proportion were within recommended target ranges for systolic (85.6%) and diastolic (98%) blood pressure although many had high BMI (mean 31.99 ± 6.47) and HbA1c (57.1%).

Conclusion: The nephrology nurse practitioner-led clinic demonstrated effectiveness in addressing CKD targets for patients and provides an opportunity to transform traditional primary and specialist healthcare delivery.

  What is already known about the topic?

  • Early intervention in chronic kidney disease (CKD) can slow or halt the progression of the disease, reducing long-term burden and healthcare costs.

  • An integrated model of care including primary and specialist providers is considered optimal for the early detection and treatment of CKD.

  • An integrated nephrology nurse practitioner model is an emerging model of care for CKD patients. However, studies investigating the cost-effectiveness, efficacy, and characteristics of this model compared to specialist or primary care in Australia are lacking.

 What this paper adds:

  • This paper describes the characteristics and outcomes of a nephrology nurse practitioner-led outpatient clinic embedded within a multidisciplinary model of care.

  • The majority of patients who remained in nephrology nurse practitioner care maintained recommended CKD targets.

  • The findings provide evidence that nephrology nurse practitioners are able to manage patients with less advanced CKD grades who have comorbid conditions and other health risk-factors.

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