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Abstract: SA-OR040

Utilizing Symptom Targeted Intervention to Help Dialysis Patients Remain Vocationally Active

Session Information

Category: Dialysis

  • 607 Dialysis: Epidemiology, Outcomes, Clinical Trials - Non-Cardiovascular


  • Evans, Deborah S., DaVita, Inc, Denver, Colorado, United States
  • Dunn, Duane V., DaVita, Inc, Denver, Colorado, United States
  • Aebel-Groesch, Kathryn M., DaVita, Inc, Denver, Colorado, United States
  • Gervens, Jay, DaVita, Inc, Denver, Colorado, United States
  • Benner, Deborah A., DaVita, Inc, Denver, Colorado, United States

Ongoing vocational activity among patients with end-stage renal disease receiving dialysis is associated with considerable benefits, including better financial/insurance status, higher quality of life, and greater likelihood of receiving a kidney transplant. In spite of these benefits, most dialysis patients are not vocationally active. Perceived barriers to vocational activity include lack of access to transportation, depression, and lack of motivation. Here, we tested the utility of social workers applying Symptom Targeted Intervention (STI) to mediate psychosocial challenges and support ongoing vocational activity among dialysis patients.


In this pilot study (2016-2017), 85 specifically trained social workers at a large US dialysis organization provided 6 or more STI counseling sessions, delivered over a period of ~10 weeks, to dialysis patients who were either vocationally active (employed, student/trainee, volunteer) or interested in becoming vocationally active. Following completion of STI, each patient was matched to a control subject (no STI) based on geographic area, vocational status, and dialysis vintage. Subjects were followed until the earliest of transplant, death, loss to follow-up, or 6 months post-enrollment.


Of 246 patients who received STI in the pilot study, 210 were matched to eligible controls (15 were withheld from matching due to enrollment in additional intervention programs; appropriate controls could not be identified for the remainder). A larger proportion of pilot patients were vocationally active during follow-up as compared to controls.


Previous work has shown that STI benefits patients who display difficulty with adjustment to dialysis. Here, we demonstrate that proactive incorporation of STI by social workers may support ongoing vocational activity among patients on dialysis.


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