'Flexible' or 'lifestyle' dialysis: is this the way forward?

John W M Agar, Kumar Mahadevan, Richard Knight, Michelle L Antonis, Christine A Somerville
Nephrology 2005, 10 (5): 525-9

BACKGROUND: Despite the advent of two new dialysis options, nocturnal home haemodialysis and short daily haemodialysis, many units are yet to build them into the modalities on offer to end-stage renal failure patients. The reasons behind this inertia are complex but primarily include anxieties about workload, budgetary implications and outcome data.

METHOD: The Geelong dialysis programme, where both nocturnal home haemodialysis and short daily haemodialysis are offered, is compared with Australian and New Zealand national profiles.

RESULTS: Significant profile differences emerge when comparing sessions/week and h/week between the three groups. Most Australian (92.93%) and New Zealand (95.07%) haemodialysis patients dialyse for three sessions/week. This contrasts to Geelong where only 73.6% dialyse for three sessions/week. 18.8% of Geelong haemodialysis patients versus 1.8% (Australia) and 0.9% (New Zealand) dialyse for five or more sessions/week. Australia and New Zealand follow similar h/session patterns although more Australians (44.2%) dialyse for 4 h and fewer (24.2%) for 5 h than their New Zealand counterparts (39.6% and 29.8%, respectively), and few dialyse outside the 3.5-5 h window. In contrast, 6.7% of Geelong patients dialyse for 2-2.5 h/session versus Australia (0.9%) and New Zealand (0.2%). This represents the Geelong short daily dialysis programme. More Geelong patients (>15%) dialyse >/=8 h/week and represent the Geelong nocturnal home haemodialysis programme.

CONCLUSION: The flexible Geelong programme has been supported without exceeding the budget applied to a conventional dialysis programme with the same patient numbers.


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