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American Journal of Kidney Diseases

Patient and Caregiver Priorities for Outcomes in Hemodialysis: An International Nominal Group Technique Study

Published:March 08, 2016DOI:https://doi.org/10.1053/j.ajkd.2016.02.037

      Background

      In the context of clinical research, investigators have historically selected the outcomes that they consider to be important, but these are often discordant with patients’ priorities. Efforts to define and report patient-centered outcomes are gaining momentum, though little work has been done in nephrology. We aimed to identify patient and caregiver priorities for outcomes in hemodialysis.

      Study Design

      Nominal group technique.

      Setting & Participants

      Patients on hemodialysis therapy and their caregivers were purposively sampled from 4 dialysis units in Australia (Sydney and Melbourne) and 7 dialysis units in Canada (Calgary).

      Methodology

      Identification and ranking of outcomes.

      Analytical Approach

      Mean rank score (of 10) for top 10 outcomes and thematic analysis.

      Results

      82 participants (58 patients, 24 caregivers) aged 24 to 87 (mean, 58.4) years in 12 nominal groups identified 68 outcomes. The 10 top-ranked outcomes were fatigue/energy (mean rank score, 4.5), survival (defined by patients as resilience and coping; 3.7), ability to travel (3.6), dialysis-free time (3.3), impact on family (3.2), ability to work (2.5), sleep (2.3), anxiety/stress (2.1), decrease in blood pressure (2.0), and lack of appetite/taste (1.9). Mortality ranked only 14th and was not regarded as the complement of survival. Caregivers ranked mortality, anxiety, and depression higher than patients, whereas patients ranked ability to work higher. Four themes underpinned their rankings: living well, ability to control outcomes, tangible and experiential relevance, and severity and intrusiveness.

      Limitations

      Only English-speaking participants were eligible.

      Conclusions

      Although trials in hemodialysis have typically focused on outcomes such as death, adverse events, and biological markers, patients tend to prioritize outcomes that are more relevant to their daily living and well-being. Researchers need to consider interventions that are likely to improve these outcomes and measure and report patient-relevant outcomes in trials, and clinicians may become more patient-orientated by using these outcomes in their clinical encounters.

      Index Words

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