Perspectives of Clinicians on Shared Decision Making in Pediatric CKD: A Qualitative Study

Jasmijn Kerklaan, Camilla S. Hanson, Simon Carter, Allison Tong, Aditi Sinha, Allison Dart, Allison A. Eddy, Chandana Guha, Debbie S. Gipson, Detlef Bockenhauer, Elyssa Hannan, Hui Kim Yap, Jaap Groothoff, Michael Zappitelli, Noa Amir, Stephen I. Alexander, Susan L. Furth, Susan Samuel, Talia Gutman, Jonathan C. Craig

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Rationale & Objective: Clinical decision-making priorities may differ among children, their parents, and their clinicians. This study describes clinicians’ perspectives on shared decision making in pediatric chronic kidney disease (CKD) and identifies opportunities to improve shared decision making and care for children with CKD and their families. Study Design: Semistructured interviews. Setting & Participants: Fifty clinicians participated, including pediatric nephrologists, nurses, social workers, surgeons, dietitians, and psychologists involved in providing care to children with CKD. They worked at 18 hospitals and 4 university research departments across 11 countries (United States of America, Canada, Australia, People's Republic of China, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, Lithuania, New Zealand, and Singapore). Analytical Approach: Interview transcripts were analyzed thematically. Results: We identified 4 themes: (1) striving to blend priorities (minimizing treatment burden, emphasizing clinical long-term risks, achieving common goals), (2) focusing on medical responsibilities (carrying decisional burden and pressure of expectations, working within system constraints, ensuring safety is foremost concern), (3) collaborating to achieve better long-term outcomes (individualizing care, creating partnerships, encouraging ownership and participation in shared decision making, sensitive to parental distress), and (4) forming cumulative knowledge (balancing reassurance and realistic expectations, building understanding around treatment, harnessing motivation for long-term goals). Limitations: Most clinicians were from high-income countries, so the transferability of the findings to other settings is uncertain. Conclusions: Clinicians reported striving to minimize treatment burden and working with children and their families to manage their expectations and support their decision making. However, they are challenged with system constraints and sometimes felt the pressure of being responsible for the child's long-term outcomes. Further studies are needed to test whether support for shared decision making would promote strategies to establish and improve the quality of care for children with CKD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)241-250
Number of pages10
JournalAmerican Journal of Kidney Diseases
Issue number2
Early online date25 Jan 2022
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2022


  • Children
  • chronic kidney disease (CKD)
  • clinician
  • decisional conflict
  • end-stage renal disease (ESRD)
  • interview
  • patient autonomy
  • patient-centered care
  • patient-doctor relationship
  • pediatric
  • qualitative research
  • quality of life (QOL)
  • shared decision making


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