Is Dorothy Correct? The Role of Patient Education in Promoting Home Dialysis


Address correspondence to: Thomas A. Golper, MD, S-3303 Medical Center North, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, 21st Avenue South, Nashville, TN 37232, Tel.: +615-343-2220, Fax: +615-322-8653, or e-mail:


The major payer of dialysis services in the United States, Medicare, has established incentives to encourage the use of home dialysis. However, this modality remains underutilized. We think that a major cause of this situation is ineffective education of the prospective dialysis population regarding the choices of kidney replacement modalities. We discuss the value of patient education and the consequences of failing to educate prospective dialysis patients. We then explore approaches to achieve patient education goals and the physician's and education team's roles in the development of an individual patient's life plan.