CKD Treatment Team Discussion Guide

Full dialysis treatment icon

Topics to Discuss with Your Treatment Team

When it comes to talking about the details of your chronic kidney disease (CKD) with your doctor or treatment team, it may help to have a list of things to ask so you make sure you cover everything you want to discuss. Below are some questions to help get the conversation started. 

Remember, your treatment team genuinely wants and needs to know what you’re thinking, so speak up! The more you contribute to your kidney care planning, the more tailored your treatment will be.

Early stage icon

Questions about early stage CKD

Questions to ask your nephrologist (kidney doctor) 

  • What causes kidney failure? 
  • What steps can I take to improve my overall health?
  • What signs or symptoms of CKD should I look for and monitor?
  • Is there anything I may experience that I should contact you about?
  • Do I need to modify my diet? Should I see a renal dietitian? 
  • Are there other health conditions that could impact my CKD? 
  • Do I need to modify my medications or treatments for other current conditions such as diabetes or high blood pressure?
  • What should I expect next with CKD? 
  • How can I reduce my risk of complications? 
PRINT THIS LIST OF QUESTIONS ABOUT EARLY STAGE CKD

Late stage icon

Questions about late-stage CKD

Questions to ask your nephrologist (kidney doctor)

  • What other health conditions should I monitor?
  • What signs and symptoms of CKD or end stage renal disease (ESRD) should I look for?
  • Is there anything I may experience that I should contact you about?
  • Which CKD treatments may be right for me at the next stage?
  • Is there anything I can do now to be ready for kidney failure treatment?
  • What can I do to keep my kidneys working as long as possible?
  • I’m thinking about hemodialysis. Can you explain why I need surgery for an access site and what I should expect?
  • I’m thinking about at-home peritoneal dialysis. Can you explain catheter placement to me?
  • What can you tell me about at-home dialysis?
  • Am I a candidate for transplant? If so, what do I need to do?
  • What should I expect during stage 5 CKD (also known as ESRD)?
  • I’m concerned about my future with CKD. Can you refer me to a counselor or therapist?


Questions for your renal dietitian

  • What should my biggest dietary goals be at this stage?
  • Any tips for keeping my diet interesting, despite all the restrictions?
  • Is there a way to incorporate my favorite foods?
  • Which dietary changes can have the biggest impact on my health?
  • Any advice for choosing kidney-friendly foods and beverages at restaurants?
  • What are the best on-the-go snacks for me?
Print this list of questions about late-stage CKD

Late stage icon

Questions about end-stage CKD (kidney failure)

Questions to ask your nephrologist (kidney doctor)

  • What should I expect from CKD treatment? 
  • When should I expect to feel better?
  • Will I be on dialysis for the rest of my life?  
  • How can I get the most out of my treatment? 
  • Is there anything I may experience that I should contact you about? 
  • Do I need to make changes to any other medications I’m taking? 
  • Am I a candidate for transplant? If so, what do I need to do? 
  • What do I need to know about over-the-counter medications or vitamins? 

Questions to ask your in-center dialysis nurse

  • What can I do to get the most out of my dialysis treatments? 
  • How should I expect to feel after dialysis? 
  • Is there anything I may experience that I should contact you about? 
  • What do I need to know about taking my prescribed medications? 
  • How are my fluids? Are there any changes I should make to get better results? 
  • What can I do to feel my best on dialysis? 
  • What do I need to know about over-the-counter medications or vitamins? 
  • I’m working. How can I best manage my work and dialysis schedules? 

Questions to ask your at-home dialysis nurse

  • What can I do to get the most out of my at-home dialysis treatments? 
  • How should I expect to feel after dialysis? 
  • If I have questions about at-home dialysis procedure who should I contact?
  • Can I do my treatments by myself or will I need help? 
  • How much storage space will I need for supplies and equipment? 
  • Is there anything I may experience that I should contact you about? 
  • What do I need to know about taking my prescribed medications? 
  • What do I need to know about over-the-counter medications or vitamins? 
  • I’m working. How can I best manage my work and dialysis schedules? 
  • Can I travel while on treatment?
  • What should I do in case of emergency? 

Questions to ask your social worker

  • What are some tips for adjusting to my new treatment? 
  • How can I balance the things I want to do with the treatment I need to do? 
  • If I’m feeling down about CKD, how can I tell if I’m working through normal emotions or if I’m clinically depressed? 
  • I want to get back to feeling like I’m living a life I love. Where do I start? 
  • Can I travel while on treatment? 
  • How can I help my family and friends understand what I’m going through? 
  • Where can I go for peer support?  
  • Are there resources that can help me handle the cost of medication or treatment? 
  • Are there services that can help with transportation to and from my in-center appointments? 

Questions for your renal dietitian 

  • What should my biggest dietary goals be at this stage? 
  • Any tips for keeping my diet interesting, despite all the restrictions? 
  • Is there a way to incorporate my favorite foods? 
  • Which dietary changes can have the biggest impact on my health? 
  • Any advice for choosing kidney-friendly foods and beverages at restaurants? 
  • What are the best on-the-go snacks for me? 
PRINT THIS LIST OF QUESTIONS ABOUT END-STAGE CKD