Discharge Instructions for Chronic Kidney Disease

Discharge Instructions for Chronic Kidney Disease

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Discharge Instructions for Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD)

Chronic kidney disease can result from many causes including infections, diabetes, high blood pressure, kidney stones, circulation problems, and reactions to medication. Having kidney disease means making many changes in your life. Learn as much as you can about it so that you can better adjust to these changes. It is important to remember that the main goal of treatment is to stop chronic kidney disease (CKD) from progressing to complete kidney failure. Treatments may vary based on the progression of CKD, so always follow your doctor's instructions in the care and management of your condition.


Here are some things you can do to help your condition.

Diet changes

Always discuss your diet with your doctor before making any changes.


Salt (sodium) in your diet

  • Based on your condition, you may be advised to eat 1500 mg or less of sodium daily

  • Limit processed foods, such as:

    • Frozen dinners and packaged meals

    • Canned fish and meats

    • Pickled foods

    • Salted snacks

    • Lunch meats

    • Sauces

    • Most cheeses

    • Fast foods

  • Don't add salt to your food while cooking or prior to eating at the table.

  • Eat unprocessed foods to decrease the sodium, such as:

    • Fresh turkey and chicken

    • Lean beef

    • Unsalted tuna

    • Fresh fish

    • Fresh vegetables and fruits

  • Season foods with fresh herbs, garlic, onions, citrus, flavored vinegar, and sodium-free spice blends instead of salt when cooking.

  • Avoid the use of salt substitutes that are high in potassium. Ask your doctor or a registered dietitian about the use of an acceptable salt substitute(s) in your diet.

  • Avoiding drinking "softened" water due to the sodium content. Make sure to read the label on bottled water for sodium content.

  • Avoid over-the-counter medications that contain sodium bicarbonate or sodium carbonate. Read labels carefully.

Potassium in your diet 

  • Based on your condition, you may be advised to eat less than 1500 milligrams to 2700 milligrams of potassium daily.

  • Always drain canned foods (vegetables, fruits, and meats) before serving.

  • Avoid whole-grain breads, wheat bran, and granolas.

  • Avoid milk, buttermilk, and yogurt.

  • Avoid nuts, seeds, peanut butter, dried beans, and peas.

  • Avoid fig cookies, chocolate, and molasses.

  • Avoid the use of salt substitutes that are high in potassium. Ask your doctor or a registered dietitian about the use of an acceptable salt subsitute(s) in your diet.

Protein in your diet

  • Based on your condition, your doctor will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of limiting protein in your diet.

  • Cut back on protein. Eat less meat, milk products, yogurt, eggs, and cheese.

Phosphorus in your diet

  • Avoid beer, cocoa, dark colas, ale, chocolate drinks, and canned ice teas.

  • Avoid cheese, milk, ice cream, pudding, and yogurt.

  • Avoid liver (beef, chicken), organ meats, oysters, crayfish and sardines.

  • Avoid beans (soy, kidney, black, garbanzo, and northern) peas (chick and split), bran cereals, nuts and caramels.


Eat small, frequent meals that are high in fiber and calories. You may be advised to limit your intake of fluids.

Other home care

  • Avoid wearing yourself out or becoming overly fatigued.

  • Get plenty of rest and increase the amount of sleep you get at night.

  • Move around and bend your legs to avoid getting blood clots when you rest for a long period of time.

  • Weigh yourself every day. Do this at the same time of day and in the same kind of clothes. Keep a record of your daily weights.

  • Take your medications exactly as directed.

  • Keep all medical appointments.

  • Take steps to control high blood pressure or diabetes. Talk to your doctor for advice.

  • Talk to your doctor about dialysis. You may benefit from this procedure if your chronic kidney disease is progressing to end stage renal disease.

Follow-up care

Make a follow-up appointment as directed by our staff.


When to seek medical care

Call your doctor right away if you have any of the following:

  • Trouble eating or drinking

  • Weight loss of more than 2 pounds in 24 hours or more than 5 pounds in 7 days

  • Little or no urine output

  • Trouble breathing

  • Muscle aches

  • Fever of 100.4°F or higher, or chills

  • Blood in your urine or stool

  • Bloody discharge from your nose, mouth, or ears

  • Severe headache or a seizure

  • Vomiting

  • Swelling of legs or ankles

  • Chest pain (call 911)