Dr Bonnie Richardson is a nephrologist at 5Section of Nephrology, Department of Medicine, Saskatchewan Health Authority, Regina, Canada
Background: Chronic kidney disease is more prevalent among First Nations people than in non-First Nations people. Emerging research suggests that First Nations people are subject to greater disease burden than non-First Nations people.
Objective: We aimed to identify the severity of chronic kidney disease and quantify the geographical challenges of obtaining kidney care by Saskatchewan's First Nations people.
Setting: The setting involved patients followed by the Saskatchewan provincial chronic kidney care program, run out of two clinics, one in Regina, SK, and one in Saskatoon, SK.
Patients: The patients included 2478 individuals (379 First Nations and 2099 non-First Nations) who were older than 18 years old, resident in Saskatchewan, and followed by the provincial chronic kidney care program. First Nations individuals were identified by their Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) Number.
Measurements: The demographics, prevalence, cause of end-stage renal disease, severity of chronic kidney disease, use of home-based therapies, and distance traveled for care among patients are reported.
Methods: Data were extracted from the clinical database used for direct patient care (the provincial electronic medical record database for the chronic kidney care program), which is prospectively managed by the health care staff. Actual distance traveled by road for each patient was estimated by a Geographic Information System Analyst in the First Nations and Inuit Health Branch of Health Canada.
Results: Compared with non-First Nations, First Nations demonstrate a higher proportion of end-stage renal disease (First Nations = 33.0% vs non-First Nations = 21.4%, P < .001), earlier onset of chronic kidney disease (MFN = 56.4 years, SD = 15.1; MNFN = 70.6 years, SD = 14.7, P < .001), and higher rates of end-stage renal disease secondary to type 2 diabetes (First Nations = 66.1% vs non-First Nations = 39.0%, P < .001). First Nations people are also more likely to be on dialysis (First Nations = 69.7% vs non-First Nations = 40.2%, P < .001), use home-based therapies less frequently (First Nations = 16.2% vs non-First Nations = 25.7%; P = 003), and must travel farther for treatment (P < .001), with First Nations being more likely than non-First Nations to have to travel greater than 200 km.
Limitations: Patients who are followed by their primary care provider or solely through their nephrologist's office for their chronic kidney disease would not be included in this study. Patients who self-identify as Aboriginal or Indigenous without an INAC number would not be captured in the First Nations cohort002E
Conclusions: In Saskatchewan, First Nations' burden of chronic kidney disease reveals higher severity, utilization of fewer home-based therapies, and longer travel distances than their non-First Nations counterparts. More research is required to identify innovative solutions within First Nations partnering communities.