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How Nursing Interventions Help Patients With Chronic Renal Failure

written by: DulceCorazon • edited by: Emma Lloyd • updated: 7/21/2010

Do you know someone suffering from progressive loss of kidney function? Find out about the nursing interventions for chronic renal failure and how they benefit patients.

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    Each kidney is roughly bigger than a person’s fist but it filters about 1700 liters of blood per day. Waste products in the blood are being processed by the kidneys to be excreted out of the body in the form of urine. Approximately, one liter of urine per day is eliminated through urination. Several causes such as trauma, radiation and infection, may predispose the kidney to fail, and lead to the development of certain conditions, like chronic renal failure.

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    Chronic renal failure is defined as the progressive and irreparable decrease in the function of the kidneys to adequately remove waste products in the body. This condition occurs over a long period of time, most often undetected until it has reached significant damage on the kidney tissues. Sometimes, the condition can happen as a rapid progression from acute renal failure. Chronic renal failure in due course will advance to end-stage renal disease, which if not provided with adequate nursing interventions frequently becomes fatal.

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    Nursing Priorities

    Nursing interventions for chronic renal failure usually depend on the specific nursing priorities reached by the nurse based on her overall assessment. For clients with chronic renal failure, essential nursing priorities include maintaining homeostasis, preventing possible complications, ensuring comfort, supporting independent self-care, and providing needed information about the disease and treatment needs of the patient.

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    Maintaining Homeostasis and Preventing Possible Complications

    Because a person with renal failure may have excess fluids in body as seen in the swelling of arms, legs and face, nursing intervention for chronic renal failure is often geared towards regaining or maintaining homeostasis in the body. Interventions mainly focus on monitoring the client’s vital signs, and on important markers for health such as heart sounds, lung sounds, pulses, blood pressure, pain, temperature, mentation, and ability to respond. It is vital that these markers be supervised to prevent any sudden changes in the patient’s internal balance and any possible complications that may arise. Any shifts especially in the patient’s fluid balance may mean worsened state for the client, which can lead to varying degrees of heart failure.

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    Ensuring Comfort and Supporting Independent Self-Care

    Patients with renal failure usually feel weak and easily get tired because they do not get ample oxygen throughout the body. This is because they have low levels of erythropoietin, which are important in RBC production. Nursing interventions for chronic renal failure directed towards ensuring client’s comfort is often necessary. In order to do this, reports of clients about weakness and fatigue should be noted and signs of anemia as well as difficulty breathing should be observed. Level of consciousness and ability to perform tasks should be monitored to appropriately assist the patient as needed and to schedule time for rest as necessary. As much as possible let the client perform tasks as tolerated. When the patient already report weakness, taking of blood samples should be limited and various puncture sites should be monitored for bleeding.

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    Providing Needed Information

    Anxiety is often felt by clients who receive the diagnosis for the first time. To ease anxiety of clients, the appropriate nursing intervention is to provide him with the necessary information about the disease process, dietary restrictions, treatment procedures, medicine details, nutritional concerns, and several signs to watch out for.

    Patients with chronic renal failure still have a chance to have a good quality of life when provided with the appropriate nursing interventions. For a complete patient care plan for chronic renal failure, it is advised that you consult your trusted health professionals about it.

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