BACKGROUND: No study has compared the effects of hemodialysis on the symptom burden of terminally ill and nonterminally ill end-stage renal disease (ESRD) patients. OBJECTIVES: This study aimed to examine the effects of hemodialysis on the symptom burden of ESRD patients and compare the terminally ill and nonterminally ill groups. DESIGN: This was a quantitative survey; for patients on hemodialysis, the survey was conducted at the beginning and end of the weekly cycle of hemodialysis sessions. SETTING/SUBJECTS: A total of 211 ESRD patients were recruited in Taiwan, 47 of which were terminally ill (38 on hemodialysis) and 164 nonterminally ill (110 on hemodialysis). MEASUREMENTS: Symptom burden was assessed using the Taiwanese version of the MD Anderson Symptom Inventory for kidney disease. RESULTS: Being terminally ill predicted higher symptom severity (B = 0.604, p = 0.017), whereas hemodialysis predicted lower symptom severity (B = -0.614, p = 0.014) in ESRD patients. Nonterminally ill patients who were married or on hemodialysis experienced lower symptom severity (B = -0.604, p = 0.013 and B = -0.665, p = 0.017, respectively). Among terminally ill patients, neither hemodialysis nor other background characteristics predicted symptom severity. When hemodialysis was initiated, no change in symptom severity was observed in terminally ill and nonterminally ill patients. CONCLUSIONS: The effects of hemodialysis on symptom burden were different between ESRD patients with different disease states. Hemodialysis predicted lower symptom severity only in nonterminally ill ESRD patients. Apart from dialysis, care providers should revisit the palliative approach for treating terminally ill ESRD patients to improve their quality of life.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine