NKF 2012 Conference Focuses on Nephrology Care Team

Fried, Linda MD, MPH

doi: 10.1097/01.NEP.0000413839.34811.52

The National Kidney Foundation (NKF) 2012 Spring Clinical Meetings (SCM12) is the clinical conference for practicing nephrologists, fellows, and members of the kidney interdisciplinary health care team. Leaders in nephrology are slated to give outstanding talks ranging in topic from the pathophysiology of kidney disease and the mechanics of renal replacement therapies to the diagnosis and management of common and rare kidney–related disorders.

This year, we pay particular attention to changing areas of nephrology practice. For example, 2011 was the first year of the End-Stage Renal Disease Prospective Payment System. How has the bundled reimbursement system for dialysis services affected care, and how will future changes to the bundle, such as the inclusion of oral medications, affect practice? In terms of transplantation, what are the implications of the potential incorporation of age- and comorbidity-based concepts to the kidney allocation system?

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Program Tracks

In addition to the physician program, SCM12 offers equal program tracks for the advanced practitioner, nephrology nurse and technician, renal and clinical dietitian, and nephrology social worker.

The care of patients with kidney disease requires a strong interdisciplinary team approach, and that emphasis is reflected in this year's program. More sessions are cross-listed among tracks and involve speakers from multiple disciplines. These programs are designed to suit any learning style, encompassing formal lectures, case-based discussions, small-group meetings, and sessions that facilitate participant interaction through the use of audience-response questions.

One such offering is “Increasing Living Kidney Donation,” which includes talks by Susan Hou, MD, on pay-it-forward programs—living-donor programs that allow recipients with incompatible donors to participate in national chains; Rebecca Hays, MSW, APSW, NSW-C, on the ethical considerations for living kidney donation; and Enver Akalin, MD, on desensitization of highly sensitized patients.

Lunch workshops include a session on “How to Set Up a Home Hemodialysis Program.” This session will give practical approaches to such an endeavour by addressing the roles of the nephrologist, training nurse, and social worker in a home hemodialysis program.

We also encourage attendees to explore sessions in other tracks. For example, are you a nephrologist with many diabetic patients who ask you how to balance their diabetic and renal diets? Join “Prioritizing Nutrition Therapy for Diabetes Care,” given in the renal and clinical dietitian program.

Participants who like excitement can attend sessions exploring contentious issues, such as “Key Controversies in Hemodialysis Vascular Access,” “Tough Nuts to Crack: Case Studies in HIVAN/HTN/GN,” “Is Peritoneal Dialysis a Viable Long-Term Therapy,” “Before Disaster Strikes—Emergency Preparedness,” and “Controversies in Organ Donation.”

There are also debates that highlight both sides of an issue to help participants sort through conflicting opinions. For example, should the goal blood pressure in chronic kidney disease remain less than 130/80 mmHg? Is hemoglobin A1c an appropriate marker of glucose control in end-stage renal disease patients?

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Networking Opportunities

SCM12 sessions not only target a range of disciplines, but they carefully consider the needs of professionals at different career stages. Each of the interdisciplinary tracks offers a new member orientation, and networking wine-and-cheese receptions are held in the exhibit hall on the Thursday and Friday nights of the conference. There also is a special nephrology fellows' reception on the Saturday night that is attended by established nephrologists who act as mentors on “Career Choices in Nephrology.”

For established nephrologists who wish to either step into new territory or be updated on cutting-edge developments within their current area of expertise, there are pre-conference courses led by world-renowned faculty.

For example, Amy Dwyer, MD, and Loay Salman, MD, are the course directors of a comprehensive interventional nephrology course.

Joanne Bargman, MD, the course director of the popular integrated hemodialysis/peritoneal dialysis course, is a master teacher and an internationally recognized expert on peritoneal dialysis. Content in this course transitions from the basics, such as the physiology of hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis, to the complex, such as the management of challenging clinical situations like encapsulating peritoneal sclerosis.

There is a new pre-conference course this year on a practical approach to renal pathology. This course will offer an integrated and comprehensive session on the fundamentals of renal pathology.

Regardless of discipline, all participants can come together to hear the presidential address, delivered this year by NKF President Lynda Szczech, MD, MSCE, and the Shaul G. Massry Distinguished Lecture, given by Ravi Thadhani, MD, MPH. A range of awards also will be presented, from the best poster presentation to International Distinguished Medals.

The NKF Spring Clinical Meetings balances the needs of multiple disciplines whose common goal is to improve the care of patients with kidney disease. For more information about SCM12 and to register, visit www.nkfclinicalmeetings.org.

© 2012 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.