Care at the End of Life - Important Decisions
Deciding when to stop kidney
dialysis can be a difficult decision for people who have kidney failure. A person with kidney failure needs dialysis or a kidney
transplant to sustain life. Kidney failure often occurs after kidney damage has
been present for 10 years or more. It usually is caused by a chronic disease,
such as chronic renal disease or
diabetes, that slowly damages the kidneys and reduces
their function over time.
Although dialysis sustains life, it is
not a cure for kidney failure. Having
kidney disease means making difficult choices. Many people with kidney failure
live active, productive lives while having regular dialysis treatment. But
others do not feel as healthy and struggle with the complications of
For more information on this decision, see:
- Should I Stop Kidney Dialysis?
If you have a heart device such as a pacemaker or an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD), talk to your doctor. You may want to have it turned off if you are terminally ill. Your doctor can explain how your heart device might affect you as you die.
Write down your decision about whether or not you want to have your heart device turned off and add this to your advance directive.