The frequency and significance of the "difficult" patient: The nephrology community's perceptions

Adv Chronic Kidney Dis. 2004 Apr;11(2):234-9. doi: 10.1053/j.arrt.2004.02.004.


Based on casual conversations among those working in dialysis units, dialysis facility staff often face situations created by difficult or disruptive patients, yet relatively little is known about these situations. A computer interactive session at a national meeting in April 2000 was used to gather information on this topic from 203 persons who worked in dialysis facilities. Most respondents viewed situations with such patients as an increasing problem for the nephrology community. Although 71% of the respondents were frequently involved in the attempted resolution of these situations, only 50% indicated that they were adequately trained to intervene. Approximately 38% of the participants' facilities had discharged a patient because of behavioral difficulties in the preceding year. Many facilities lacked policies that could provide guidance to both staff and patients about their rights and responsibilities, as well as policies that specifically addressed difficult/disruptive patient situations. These results highlight the need for increased training for personnel and the development of policies by dialysis units to address this increasingly common problem.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Behavior*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / psychology*
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / therapy
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Renal Dialysis*
  • Treatment Refusal*