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For 16 years, with Amgen support, the non-profit Medical Education Institute (MEI) which created Home Dialysis Central, ran the Life Options Rehabilitation Program to help people with kidney disease live long and live well. A key aspect of that program—but never the only focus—was helping people to maintain employment, because work can boost self-esteem, offer social contacts, and provide an income and perhaps benefits, and all of these help mitigate the emotional and financial and even physical impact of a chronic illness.
Recently, it has been suggested that the degree to which dialysis clinics help their clients keep their jobs should be a metric used to judge the quality of the care they deliver. You would think that with a 16-year track record of advocating for employment (along with encouragement, education, exercise, and evaluation, the original “5 E’s” of renal rehabilitation) MEI would strongly support this notion. But, we don’t support it unconditionally. Because, by the time people reach end-stage and start on dialysis, it is far too late to start worrying about their jobs. That concern needs to happenupstream during CKD and then continue into ESRD.