Fresenius Medical Care, the world’s leading provider of dialysis products and services, has released an advisory calling for clinical care principles on access to be upheld for patients with advanced chronic kidney disease if a surge in COVID-19 infections overwhelms the available supply of facilities, caregivers and ventilators.
The Global Medical Advisory on Apportioning Care outlines the company’s position on how care should be allotted during and after the pandemic and addresses the differing care standards being articulated by various healthcare systems, groups and governments. It stresses the company’s commitment to maintaining uninterrupted healthcare delivery for patients around the world who require renal replacement therapy during the pandemic.
The advisory recognizes that capacity issues may become overwhelming to healthcare systems during the pandemic. However, it calls on “all authorities to recognize the need to make critical equipment, supplies, facilities and care delivery available to patients with advanced kidney diseases that need lifesaving therapy at all times, including during this COVID-19 disease pandemic.”
Dr. Frank Maddux, Global Chief Medical Officer of Fresenius Medical Care and member of the company’s Management Board, said the company stands firmly behind the clinical principle that despite the strain on healthcare resources caused by the pandemic, patients with End Stage Kidney Disease requiring dialysis should be able to continue with their prescribed dialysis treatment frequency. Furthermore, dialysis access surgery or interventions needed by some patients are “not elective procedures and should be delivered in a timely manner” to prevent potential complications, he added.
The advisory asserts that patients needing renal replacement therapy during the pandemic should still be offered the appropriate treatment that has been agreed in consultation with their physicians. “These discussions may include mechanical ventilation, dialysis, continuous renal replacement therapies and any other extracorporeal support” advised by a patient’s care team, it states.
“People with advanced kidney disease come in varied degrees of health and functional status, but they all want to be productive and active members of their families and communities, and we are doing everything in our power to support their desire for individual choices on the level of care they receive,” said Dr. Maddux. “We want to avoid population-based decisions on care that may not be in the best interests of the individual person.”