Background Renal access coordinators contribute specifically to dialysis access care for people with chronic and end stage renal disease. Since the introduction of renal access coordinators into Australia in the early 2000s, there have been anecdotal examples of associated improvements in patient outcomes and service delivery; however scant published quantitative evidence exists. Thus, the impact of the implementation of renal access coordinators has not undergone a rigorous review to date.
Objective The objective of this systematic review was to critically appraise and synthesize the best available evidence related to the impact of renal access coordinators on dialysis patient outcomes and associated service delivery. INCLUSION CRITERIA
Types of participants This review considered studies that included renal access coordinators (noting variations of the titles) and adult hemodialysis patients (aged 18 years and over).
Types of intervention(s) This review considered studies that evaluated the effectiveness of the renal access coordinator. This role typically consists of clinical and administration duties such as providing pre dialysis access coordination, access surveillance patient education and nurse education. Types of studies The types of studies considered within this review included experimental and epidemiological study designs. Thus randomized controlled trials (RCT), non-randomized controlled trials, and quasi-experimental, before and after studies, prospective and retrospective cohort studies were considered as were case control studies, analytical cross sectional studies and descriptive cross sectional studies. Types of outcomes Patient outcomes considered included: days to first vascular access complication (such as stenosis or thrombosis) and/or primary intervention (such as angioplasty or surgical intervention); percentage of central line insertions (negative); rate of arteriovenous fistula (AVF)/arteriovenous graft (AVG)/central venous catheter (CVC) at start of dialysis (incidence); prevalent rate of AVF/AVG/CVC; time to occlusion of AVF and time from referral to surgery. Service outcomes included: knowledge/up skilling of renal nurses; cannulation skills, ultrasound skills, knowledge of anatomy and physiology and other access related knowledge.
Search strategy The search strategy aimed to locate published and unpublished studies, utilizing a three-step searching approach. Studies published in English from 1990 to October 2013 were considered for inclusion in this review.
Methodological quality The studies were assessed by two independent reviewers using the appropriate standardized critical appraisal instruments from the Joanna Briggs Institute. Data collection Data were extracted from papers included in the review using the standardised data extraction tool from the Joanna Briggs Institute, namely JBI Meta-Analysis of Statistics Assessment and Review Instrument (JBI-MAStARI).
Data synthesis This review aimed to conduct meta-analyses of the findings: however, because of the limitations of the data found, this was not possible and so the findings are presented in a narrative format.
Results Five studies were identified for inclusion in the review. No RCTs were found, therefore four of the five studies were pre-post intervention cohort studies and one was a prospective quality assurance report. Data were heterogeneous and thus did not allow for meta-analysis. All studies included multidisciplinary teams with variable emphasis on the renal access coordinator role. The pre post intervention cohort studies measured incident and/or prevalent AVF, AVG and CVC rates in the hemodialysis population and the quality assurance report measured the difference in patency rates between AVF and AVG. All discussed the role of central coordination as a contributor to the success of vascular access care.
Conclusions This review found insufficient data to make firm conclusions about the impact that renal access coordinators have on patient outcomes. The results of this review suggest an association between renal access coordinators and improved patient outcomes. These improved patient outcomes were apparent in an increase in incident and prevalent AVFs, and a decrease in the incidence and prevalence of CVCs. Both associations are correlated with a reduction in infection rates, length of hospital stay and healthcare costs.
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