Patients' descriptions of specific factors leading to modality selection of chronic peritoneal dialysis or hemodialysis

Diane B Wuerth, Susan H Finkelstein, Olena Schwetz, Hugh Carey, Alan S Kliger, Fredric O Finkelstein
Peritoneal Dialysis International 2002, 22 (2): 184-90

OBJECTIVES: There has been increasing interest in understanding how patients with chronic renal failure choose between chronic peritoneal dialysis (CPD) and hemodialysis (HD) for renal replacement therapy. The purpose of the present study was to examine the influences and specific factors that patients identify as significant in choosing a specific dialysis modality for treatment of their end-stage renal disease (ESRD).

PATIENTS AND DESIGN: 40 patients (20 CPD, 20 HD) who had started dialysis within the preceding 6 months were randomly selected to participate in the study. A structured interview was conducted with the patients, discussing and exploring what factors patients thought were important in helping them decide their treatment modality. The format of the interview was open-ended. Based on patients' comments, a taxonomy of the specific factors that influenced the patients' decisions was developed.

SETTING: The study was conducted in a freestanding CPD unit and two freestanding HD units.

RESULTS: All 20 CPD patients reported choosing their treatment modality; only 8 of the 20 HD patients reported having a choice of treatment modality. 18 of the 22 patients who participated in predialysis educational programs opted for CPD. 83% of the patients reported that their physician was important in influencing their treatment choice; however, the CPD patients relied more on written material and the opinions of their spouse/significant other or other family members in making their decisions. Issues of autonomy and control were important for 95% of patients choosing CPD. Both CPD and HD patients cited a variety of treatment-specific factors. The three most frequently cited reasons for choosing CPD were (1) flexibility of schedule (19 patients), (2) convenience of performing CPD in their own home (19 patients), and (3) the option of doing dialysis at night while sleeping (8 patients). The 8 HD patients who selected their treatment modality cited the desirability of having a planned schedule (7 patients) and letting nurses or other take care of them (5 patients).

CONCLUSIONS: The present study explored factors perceived by patients as being important in determining their choice of renal replacement therapy. A taxonomy of patient influences and concerns has been developed to provide caregivers with a framework to structure their educational strategies and assist patients with progressive renal failure in making an informed choice of therapeutic modality for their ESRD treatment.

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