Inappropriate use of dialysis for some elderly patients: nephrology nurses' perceptions and concerns.

L. A. Badzek, H. S. Cline, A. H. Moss, S. C. Hines

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8 Scopus citations


The purpose of this study was to determine what percentage of elderly patients (age 65 years and older) nephrology nurses (NN) believe should not be dialyzed and to identify NN percep tions and concerns about the inappropriate use of dialysis for these patients. The design was descriptive using a cross-sectional survey instrument. Data was collected in 1996 from 393 NN (44% response rate), with a mean age of 41 years and 9 years of dialysis experience. The sample was 1,000 NN randomly selected from 7,000 members of the American Nephrology Nurses'Association (ANNA) who selected hemodialysis as a special area of interest. Quantitative analysis of respondents revealed that NN felt that 15% of elderly dialysis patients (EDP) should not be dialyzed, and 80% were troubled by decisions to start dialysis for some elderly patients. Content analysis of qualitative responses supported the NN concerns revealed in the quantitative analysis. Five themes with interrater reliability of > 98% were identified: qualiy of life (QoL), patient/family inadequate knowledge, patient influences on decision making age, and other (cost/legal reasons). QoL issues accounted for 75% of NN responses. Statistical analyses including an ANOVA, t-tests, and chi square failed to identify relationships between themes and demographic factors, such as age, gender, years of experience, education level, unit profit status, and type of staff position. The researchers conclude that NN believe dialysis is inappropriate for a significant percentage of EDP, these perceptions and concerns are widespread, and QoL issues are key factors in decisions to withhold or withdraw dialysis. NN may decrease the inappropriate use of dialysis by identifying QoL factors for EDP, facilitating discussions with family members and nephrologists, and continuing to advocate for the rights of EDP with poor QoL.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)462-470; discussion 471-472
JournalNephrology nursing journal : journal of the American Nephrology Nurses' Association
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2000

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Medicine


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