Understanding End-Stage Renal Failure And How Medicare Helps Patients Afford Short-Term Rehabilitative Services

Posted on: 30 December 2014

End-Stage Renal Failure is no longer the death sentence that it once was. Management regimens for people with this disease can be costly, but thankfully, Medicare covers many of the expenses associated not just with the treatments, but the short-term rehabilitative services as well.

What is End-Stage Renal Failure?

When a person's kidneys fail, that person is said to suffer from "End-Stage Renal Failure." The disease is "acute," meaning that it happens suddenly. Many things can cause this sudden kidney failure, including trauma to the kidneys, severe blood loss, and toxic reactions to medications, but diabetes and high blood pressure are the most common predecessors. It is also the final stage of chronic kidney disease, which is the degradation of the kidneys over time.

Symptoms of End-Stage Renal Failure

There are many symptoms of End-Stage Renal Failure. Some of the most common symptoms are:

  • Decreased ability to urinate;
  • Numb hands and feet;
  • Decreased appetite and weight loss;
  • Digestive disruptions, such as constipation, diarrhea, and vomiting;
  • Overall ill feelings;
  • Abnormal increase in hiccups;
  • Easy bruising and anemia; 
  • Weakening bones; and 
  • Confusion and inability to concentrate.

Managing End-Stage Renal Disease

Left untreated, End-Stage Renal Failure is fatal. Even though it is irreversible, patients can manage the symptoms and increase the length and quality of life in one of two ways: dialysis and transplant.

  • Dialysis: Kidney dialysis is a process that fulfills the duties that the kidneys are no longer able to perform; dialysis artificially filters the blood and removes toxins, fluids, and salt from it.
  • Transplant: A kidney transplant is a surgical procedure that involves removing the faulty kidney and replacing it with a healthy organ. 

Affording Treatment Plans 

Kidney dialysis regimens and kidney transplants are both very expensive procedures.  Paying out-of-pocket for these procedures is not reasonable for most patients' budgets. Many health insurance plans address End-Stage Renal Failure treatments, but these plans do not always cover all related expenses. Furthermore, many insurance plans have high deductibles.

For patients struggling with payment options, Medicare can help. 

How Medicare Helps Patients Afford Treatment 

"Medicare" is a federal program that provides health insurance to people over 65, people of any age with certain disabilities, and, thankfully, people diagnosed with End-Stage Renal Disease. There are four parts of Medicare, but Medicare Part A provides financial assistance for short-term rehabilitative services.

Patients undergoing a kidney dialysis treatment regimen can use Medicare Part A coverage for the actual inpatient and outpatient dialysis procedures, and the treatment management after the operation. In-home dialysis training and set-up are also classified as short-term rehabilitation covered under Part A.

Patients electing for a kidney transplant can also use Medicare Part A coverage for post-operative rehabilitative services. After the surgery, a patient is at risk of contracting an infection and of the body rejecting the new organ. As a result, patients must remain in intensive care for about two days, and in the hospital for up to ten days. Medicare Part A provides financial assistance for this short-term stay.

Talk to a company that offers rehabilitation services, such as The Village, to learn more about how to afford these types of treatment.


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Hi there! My name is Sara Jerba. I'm no doctor, but I'm very familiar with them due to experience. You could say I was a sickly child. Between various allergies and a few other conditions, I got to be very good friends with my doctors and nurses. Although I hate staying overnight in the hospital, I do feel quite at home there. Now, don't feel sorry for me. Most of my conditions have eased or even abated entirely as I've grown up. And none of them were ever life-threatening--just inconvenient. It's actually been very positive in the long run; it's brought a lot of wonderful people and important knowledge into my life that I wouldn't have had otherwise.

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