Aim. This paper reports a study to compare the quality of life and its correlates for patients undergoing various types of renal replacement therapy.
Background. Patients with end stage renal disease need renal replacement therapy as a substitute for their original kidneys. Different renal replacement therapies have different levels of impact on physical, psychological and social health. Quality of life as perceived by patients with end-stage renal disease is an important measure of patient outcome.
Methods. A cross-sectional, descriptive, correlational study was carried out in 2002. A total of 240 patients were recruited from two medical centres in northern Taiwan. These patients were currently undergoing one of following types of renal replacement therapies: haemodialysis, continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis or transplantation. The study instrument used was the WHOQOL-BREF-TAIWAN. Data were analysed using descriptive and inferential statistics.
Results. The scores for quality of life of transplantation patients were higher than those for both haemodialysis and continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis patients. The lowest scores for all three groups were in the psychological domain. The mean age for haemodialysis and continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis patients was significantly higher than that for transplant patients. The educational level, proportion of single people, and employment status of transplant patients were significantly higher than those of haemodialysis and continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis patients. Perception of economic status as ‘balanced’ or ‘proficient’ for transplant patients was significantly higher than for continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis and haemodialysis patients.
Conclusion. Information about the quality of life of patients having various types of renal replacement therapy will assist physicians, nurses, patients and their families to make decisions on treatment selection. There is a need to establish support groups for patients having renal replacement therapy in order to enhance their quality of life, especially in the psychological domain.