A Qualitative Pilot Study of the Perceptions in Older Adults with End-Stage Kidney Disease on Hemodialysis*

Seki A. Balogun, Natalie B. May, Meagan Briley, Allison Bosch, Isabelle Duerr, Justine E. Owens, Emaad Abdel Rahman



Little is known about the perceptions of older adults with end-stage kidney disease (ESKD) on chronic hemodialysis (HD) even though this could potentially influence how treatment is received. This study explores the perceptions of older adults with ESKD on HD, specifically their decision to initiate HD, preconceptions and expectations of HD, perceived difficulties with HD, and coping strategies.

Design: Cross–sectional

Setting: Outpatient chronic dialysis units

Participants: Older adults with ESKD on HD

Intervention: Open-ended interviews were conducted with 15 participants. Inclusion criteria were age 60 years and older, HD duration of at least three months, and ability to consent and participate in the interview process.

Results: We report on four identified domains: decision to initiate HD; preconceptions and expectations of HD; drawback of HD; and coping strategies. All participants were reluctant to initiate HD, but made the decision on advice from their physicians for varying reasons. Trust in physicians’ opinions also played a role for some. Some participants had positive preconceptions of HD, while a few had negative preconceptions or unrealistic expectations. Even though the majority of participants identified several difficulties with being on HD, they also had positive coping strategies, and the majority indicated that they would make the same decision to initiate HD.

Conclusion: As clinicians are turning more to patient-centered medicine, understanding patients’ perceptions of HD is of crucial importance. Our study highlights the importance of improving pre-hemodialysis education to ensure that patients’ expectations are realistic, as well as identifying individualized coping strategies by patients. 


older adults; perceptions; end-stage kidney disease; hemodialysis

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5770/cgj.22.342


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ISSN: 1925-8348 (Online)