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An exploration of the relationship between fatigue and physical functioning in patients with end stage renal disease receiving haemodialysis

Authors

  • Dawn O'Sullivan MSc, RN,

  • Geraldine McCarthy MSN, MEd, PhD, RN, RNT


Geraldine McCarthy
Head of School
Catherine McAuley School of Nursing and Midwifery
Brookfield Health Science Complex
College Road
Cork
Ireland
Telephone: 00353 21 4901553
E-mail: g.mccarthy@ucc.ie

Abstract

Aim.  To measure fatigue and physical functioning in patients with end stage renal disease (ESRD) receiving haemodialysis and to investigate the relationships between fatigue and physical functioning.

Background.  Fatigue and reduced physical functioning are among the most bothersome symptoms experienced by individuals receiving haemodialysis for ESRD. Research has shown that increasing activity levels has resulted in decreased fatigue levels and improved physical functioning in individuals with cancer. Establishing whether or not a relationship exists between both concepts in haemodialysis patients is a preliminary step in identifying potential fatigue reducing strategies necessary for improved wellbeing.

Method.  A quantitative exploratory correlational design was used with 46 individuals completing the Multi-dimensional Fatigue Inventory, the Medical Outcomes Study Short-Form 36-item questionnaire and a Demographic Questionnaire.

Results.  Results indicated fatigue was prevalent with highest scores achieved for physical fatigue; reduced activity and general fatigue. Substantial limitations in physical functioning were found. A significant moderate negative relationship between general fatigue and physical functioning indicated that, as physical functioning levels increased, fatigue levels decreased. A significant difference was also found between general fatigue scores for males and females. Significant relationships were found between overall physical functioning, older age and employment status.

Conclusion.  The research indicates the prevalence of fatigue and limitations in physical functioning in individuals with ESRD. However, as physical functioning increased fatigue decreased; a finding relevant to clinical nursing.

Relevance to clinical practice.  Understanding the levels of fatigue and the value of exercise is of relevance to clinical practice thus assessment of fatigue and physical functioning ability in the clinical setting is necessary.

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