Compliance with the hemodialysis (HD) prescription is an important predictor of patient outcome. Although there is interest in the concept of patient satisfaction with medical care and caregivers, relatively few such data exist regarding HD patients. We examined whether associations exist between patient satisfaction with medical personnel and depressive affect and social support levels and behavioral compliance with prescribed HD treatment. Seventy-nine HD patients were interviewed, assessing depression, social support, and perception of satisfaction with dialysis staff. Medical and treatment data, Karnofsky functioning and severity of illness scores, and behavioral and laboratory compliance measures were determined. There was no association between patient satisfaction with care and level of depressive affect. A relationship was found between patient satisfaction with care with their nephrologist and attendance at dialysis sessions. Patients who had a poor perception of satisfaction with their nephrologist had poorer attendance at dialysis sessions. There was no relationship between behavioral compliance and patient perception of ancillary HD staff. In addition, patient perception of satisfaction with staff was related to perception of social support, protein catabolic rate, and serum albumin concentration, all of which have been linked to survival. We conclude that a nephrologist has a crucial role in patient compliance. These results suggest interventions that improve patient perception of physician support may improve patient adjustment and possibly survival.
Copyright 2002 by the National Kidney Foundation, Inc.