This study evaluated the effects of a predialysis patient education programme on functioning and well-being in 28 uraemic patients. The programme consisted of four group sessions with the following themes: renal disease and dietary restriction, active renal replacement therapy, physical exercise, and the impact of chronic renal failure on economy, family and social life. Three to 9 months after having started dialysis the patients were evaluated regarding symptoms, perceived health (Health Index), functional (SIP) and emotional (STAI) status. Twenty-eight patients already on dialysis treatment informed according to conventional routines constituted the comparison group. There were no significant differences between the groups regarding age, sex, educational or social background, duration of kidney disease, choice of dialysis treatment, cause of renal disease and laboratory tests except for s-urea. The patients who participated in the education programme scored significantly better mood, less mobility problems (HI), less functional disabilities (SIP) and lower levels of anxiety (STAI) compared to the comparison group. There were no significant differences between the two groups regarding symptoms and overall health. The differences between the groups prevailed during the first 6 months on dialysis treatment, after which the differences disappeared. In the comparison group age correlated significantly to anxiety and overall SIP, which was not the case in the experimental group. In conclusion, the experimental group that participated in a predialysis patient education programme, showed better functional and emotional well-being than the non-educated comparison group. The positive effects of participating in an education programme prevailed during the first 6 months of dialysis treatment. Moreover, the younger patients seemed especially to benefit from participation in a predialysis patient education programme. It is suggested that patient education should be ongoing for patients with end-stage renal failure initiated during the predialysis stage and continued after maintenance dialysis has been established.