Australian consumer perspectives on dialysis: First national census


Dr Marie Ludlow, National Medical Project Manager, Kidney Health Australia, GPO Box 9993, Adelaide, SA 5001, Australia. Email:


Aim:  The percentage of people in Australia who undertake home dialysis has steadily decreased over the past 40 years and varies within Australia. Consumer factors related to this decline have not previously been determined.

Methods:  A 78-question survey was developed and piloted in 2008 and 2009. Survey forms were distributed to all adult routine dialysis patients in all Australian states and territories (except Northern Territory) between 2009 and 2010. Of 9223 distributed surveys, 3250 were completed and returned.

Results:  49% of respondents indicated they had no choice in the type of dialysis and 48% had no choice in dialysis location. Respondents were twice as likely to receive information about haemodialysis (85%) than APD (39%) or CAPD (41%). The provision of education regarding home modalities differed significantly between states, and decreased with increasing patient age. Additional nursing support and reimbursement of expenses increased the proportion of those willing to commence dialysis at home, from 13% to 34%. State differences in the willingness to consider home dialysis, the degree of choice in dialysis location, the desire to change current dialysis type and/or location, and the provision of information about dialysis were identified.

Conclusion:  The delivery of pre-dialysis education is variable, and does not support all options of dialysis for all individuals. State variances indicate that local policy and health professional teams significantly influence the operation of dialysis programs.