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Exercise has been shown to improve some aspects of health-related quality of life in individuals with kidney disease. Level of physical activity is also an important part of the CfC Patient Assessment and the implementation of Patient Plan of Care especially as related to rehabilitation, transplantation and self-care. The following resources are a way to assist facilities promote exercise among their patients.

Providing Motivation

Kidney patients face many challenges every day - dialysis, diet, medication, fluid restrictions. Finding ways to motivate patients to “do one more thing” even when the benefits to their health are well researched and documented is often a challenge for staff. The following resources feature patients motivating patients to exercise.

This 30-minute DVD is a companion to the patient exercise booklet (Exercise: A Guide for People on Dialysis). It features conversations with dialysis patients about the benefits of exercise, as well as easy-to-follow demonstrations. All of the strength and flexibility exercises recommended in the patient booklet are shown in this video. Cost: $10 per DVD including shipping in the U.S. only.

Related Articles

(This article originally appeared in the Winter 2009 issue of the Renal Outreach.)

Helping Patients Get Started

The first step in planning an exercise program is to determine fitness level and select appropriate physical activities. This is best accomplished with the help of a doctor or healthcare team member. The following are helpful resources for assessment and prescription.

Exercise for the Dialysis Patient: A Guide for the Nephrologist

Topics include how to screen patients for exercise participation, pros and cons of exercise testing, and recommendations for safe exercise interventions. From the foreword by cardiopulmonary rehabilitation specialist Geoffrey Moore, MD, to the final references, this physician guide challenges the assumption that progressive physical degeneration is unavoidable for dialysis patients.

Exercise for the Dialysis Patient: A Prescribing Guide

Safety concerns may cause some dialysis professionals to avoid recommending exercise to their patients. This brief booklet addresses those concerns—and lays them to rest! Sections on prescribing exercise, determining appropriate intensity levels, and identifying signs/symptoms that merit concern are all covered. In addition, there is a special section on prescribing exercise for dialysis patients with co-morbid conditions.

Setting Up an Exercise Program

There are no general instructions for exercise that apply to all patients with kidney disease. The following resources will assist patients to design and tailor an exercise program to their current needs and learn to modify and grow their exercise routine to meet future goals.

Exercise: A Guide for People on Dialysis

Written for patients, this booklet provides step-by-step instructions for starting and maintaining an exercise program. Written by exercise expert Patricia Painter, PhD, this program focuses on building strength, endurance, and flexibility, the three key areas for improving patient activity level. Profiles and quotes from dialysis patients who enjoy the benefits of regular exercise are featured.