Development and Validation of the Rating of CKD Knowledge Among Older Adults (Know-CKD) With Kidney Failure

Susan Koch-Weser, Kristen Kennefick, Hocine Tighiouart, John B. Wong, Elisa J. Gordon, Tamara Isakova, Dena Rifkin, Ana Rossi, Daniel E. Weiner, Keren Ladin*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Rationale & Objective: Few older adults with kidney failure engage in shared decision making (SDM) for kidney replacement therapy. The lack of instruments to assess SDM-relevant knowledge domains may contribute to this. We assessed the reliability and validity of a new instrument, the Rating of CKD Knowledge Older Adults (Know-CKD). Study Design: Multistage process, including a stakeholder-engaged development phase, pilot testing, and validation of a knowledge instrument using a cross-sectional survey of older adults with CKD. Setting & Participants: 363 patients aged 70+ years with nondialysis advanced chronic kidney disease (CKD) (estimated glomerular filtration rate [eGFR] < 30 mL/min/1.73 m2) in Boston, Chicago, Portland, ME, and San Diego from June 2018 and January 2020. Exposure: Educational level, higher literacy (Single Item Literacy Screener [SILS]) and numeracy (Subjective Numeracy Scale [SNS]), having participated in clinic-sponsored dialysis education, and self-reported “feeling informed” about options for treatment. Outcome: Validity and reliability of the Know-CKD instrument. Analytical Approach: Reliability was assessed with the Kuder-Richardson-20 coefficient. Construct validity was demonstrated by testing a priori hypotheses using t test, analysis of variance (ANOVA) tests, and linear regression analyses. Results: The mean (± SD) participant age was 77.6 ± 5.9 years, and mean eGFR was 22.7 ± 7.2 mL/min/1.73 m2; 281 participants (78%) self-reported as White. The 12-item Know-CKD assessment had good reliability (Kuder-Richardson-20 reliability coefficient = 0.75), and a mean score of 58.2% ± 22.3 SD. The subscales did not attain acceptable reliability. The proportion answering correctly on each item ranged from 20.1% to 91.7%. In examining construct validity, the hypothesized associations held; Know-CKD significantly associated with higher education (β = 6.98 [95% CI, 1.34-12.61], P = 0.02), health literacy (β = −12.67 [95% CI, −19.49 to −5.86], P ≤ 0.001), numeracy per 10% higher (β = 1.85 [95% CI, 1.02-2.69], P ≤ 0.001), and attendance at dialysis class (β = 18.28 [95% CI, 13.30-23.27], P ≤ 0.001). These associations were also observed for the subscales except for prognosis (not associated with literacy or numeracy). Limitations: Know-CKD is only available in English and has been used only in research settings. Conclusions: For older adults facing dialysis initiation decisions, Know-CKD is a valid, reliable, and easy to administer measure of knowledge. Further research should examine the relationship of kidney disease knowledge and SDM, patient satisfaction, and clinical outcomes. Plain-Language Summary: The Rating of CKD Knowledge Among Older Adults (Know-CKD) study measures knowledge of chronic kidney disease (CKD) and is designed for older adults. Most existing knowledge measures for CKD focus on people of all ages and all CKD stages. This measure is useful because it will allow researchers to assess how well patient education efforts are working. Patient education is a way to help patients make decisions about their care. We describe how the measure was developed by a team of doctors, researchers, and patients, and how the measure performed among persons with advanced CKD aged 70 years and older. Know-CKD can inform efforts to improve shared decision-making research and practice for older patients with kidney disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)569-577
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Kidney Diseases
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2024


  • Chronic kidney disease
  • decisional quality
  • dialysis
  • kidney failure
  • kidney replacement therapy
  • knowledge
  • renal failure
  • renal replacement therapy
  • shared decision-making

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nephrology


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