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Are you SURE about your vascular access? Exploring factors influencing vascular access decisions with chronic hemodialysis patients and their nurses.

CANNT Journal 2016 April
A major decision for patients with stage 5 chronic kidney disease (CKD) relates to vascular access (VA) for treatment. Patients who receive pre-dialysis care often defer making a decision, which results in initiation of hemodialysis (HD) with a central venous catheter (CVC) in an urgent or emergent situation. Little is known about how individuals make decisions around VA. In this context, a mixed-methods study was undertaken to explore uncertainty related to changing their VA from an existing CVC to a graft or fistula. Quantitative assessment was measured using the SURE tool and interviews with patients and nurses were conducted. Results revealed that none of the 16 patient participants reported uncertainty. Qualitative findings revealed that patient decisions about access were impacted by observations, experiences, and dialogue in the hemodialysis unit. Study findings have important implications including the challenge of reconciling epidemiologic population-based risk measurement to the individual patient’s situation. Moreover, the SURE tool was viewed as a mechanism to open a dialogue to confirm patients’ decisions and provide further education and/or support following HD initiation.

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