Treatment Adherence in CKD and Support From Health care Providers: A Qualitative Study

Eleanor Rivera, Maya N. Clark-Cutaia, Sarah J. Schrauben, Raymond R. Townsend, James P. Lash, Mary Hannan, Bernard G. Jaar, Hernan Rincon-Choles, Sheru Kansal, Jiang He, Jing Chen, Karen B. Hirschman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Rationale & Objective: Adherence to recommended medical treatment is critical in chronic kidney disease (CKD) to prevent complications and progression to kidney failure. Overall adherence to treatment is low in CKD, and as few as 40% of patients with kidney failure receive any documented CKD-related care. The purpose of this study was to explore the experiences of patients with CKD and their adherence to CKD treatment plans, and the role their health care providers played in supporting their adherence. Study Design: One-on-one interviews were conducted in 2019-2020 using a semi-structured interview guide. Participants described experiences with adherence to treatment plans and what they did when experiencing difficulty. Setting & Participants: Participants were recruited from the Chronic Renal Insufficiency Cohort (CRIC) study. All CRIC participants were older than 21 years with CKD stages 2-4; this sample consisted of participants from the University of Pennsylvania CRIC site. Analytical Approach: Interviews were recorded, transcribed, and coded using conventional content analysis. Data were organized into themes using NVivo 12. Results: The sample (n = 32) had a mean age of 67 years, 53% were women, 59% were non-White, with a mean estimated glomerular filtration rate of 56.6 mL/min/1.73 m2. From analysis of factors relevant to treatment planning and adherence, following 4 major themes emerged: patient factors (multiple chronic conditions, motivation, outlook), provider factors (attentiveness, availability/accessibility, communication), treatment planning factors (lack of plan, proactive research, provider-focused treatment goals, and shared decision making), and treatment plan responses (disagreeing with treatment, perceived capability deficit, lack of information, and positive feedback). Limitations: The sample was drawn from the CRIC study, which may not be representative of the general population with CKD. Conclusions: These themes align with Behavioral Learning Theory, which includes concepts of internal antecedents (patient factors), external antecedents (provider factors), behavior (treatment planning factors), and consequences (treatment plan responses). In particular, the treatment plan responses point to innovative potential intervention approaches to support treatment adherence in CKD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number100545
JournalKidney Medicine
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2022


  • Adherence
  • chronic kidney disease
  • patient/provider communication
  • qualitative study

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Nephrology


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