Aim. The aims of the study were (a) to measure the overall quality of life of people receiving haemodialysis, (b) to compare the quality of life of the sample with that of the general population and (c) to identify any differences between the quality of life of people who are adequately dialysed and those inadequately dialysed, as determined by Kt/Vurea (dialysis adequacy) measurements.
Background. End stage renal disease is a progressive, debilitating, chronic illness requiring nursing and medical interventions. The development of the disease affects quality of life, potentially influencing physical and mental health, functional status, independence, general well-being, personal relationships and social functioning.
Method. A descriptive, cross-sectional, survey was carried out of the quality of life of patients undergoing haemodialysis treatment at a hospital in the Republic of Ireland. A non-probability sample of 97 patients was chosen. Health-related quality of life was assessed using the 36-item Short Form Health Survey questionnaire.
Findings. Patients receiving haemodialysis identified limitations in a number of areas including vitality, physical functioning and physical role limitations. They also reported significantly lower physical functioning when compared with general population norm-based scores. Differences were also found in mental health scores between patients who were well-dialysed and those less well-dialysed.
Conclusion. End-stage renal disease and its ensuing treatments negatively affect quality of life. Nurses aware of this evidence can explore new ways to assess more accurately and identify specific problem areas for individual patients and take action to ameliorate these.