What patients with mild-to-moderate kidney disease know, think, and feel about their disease: An in-depth interview study

Carola Van Dipten*, Wim J.C. De Grauw, Jack F.M. Wetzels, Willem J.J. Assendelft, Nynke D. Scherpbier-de Haan, Marianne K. Dees

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction: It is unknown what patients in primary care with mild-to-moderate chronic kidney disease (CKD) know, think, and feel about their diagnoses and how they value the information provided. The aim of the study was to explore their knowledge, thoughts, and experiences concerning their CKD and the information given to them. Method: Qualitative interview study with patients with mild-to-moderate CKD who know their diagnoses and are treated mainly by family physicians. Results: Four themes arose: CKD literacy, coping with anxiety, prerequisites for self-management, and reciprocity in information provision. The participants filled deficiencies in their CKD knowledge with misconceptions and half-truth about causes, symptoms, and treatment. The anxiety about CKD at the time of diagnosis versus the feeling of irrelevance later on was due to the absence of CKD symptoms and their physicians’ minimization of the seriousness of CKD. Participants failed to connect lifestyle and cardiovascular disease with CKD. Not all participants were well informed about the consequences that CKD might have. CKD literacy and willingness to change were both necessary to accept lifestyle changes. Further, the participants felt that it would be helpful when information comes with empathy and is tailored to patients’ personal needs. Conclusions: Patients have various perceptions about their CKD. Exploring these perceptions could help match their needs with better-tailored information. Doctors should be aware that they can deliver inaccurate signals about CKD severity, so that patients fail to realize the potential impact of CKD. This makes them less open to lifestyle changes and improving their self-management.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)570-577
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the American Board of Family Medicine
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1-Jul-2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Chronic Kidney Diseases
  • Family Physicians
  • Life Style
  • Primary Health Care
  • Qualitative Research
  • Self-Management


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