The discussion was initiated by a paper on the influence of a pre-dialysis education programme on the mode of renal replacement therapy by Goovaerts et al (NDT 2005). Barriers to the uptake of self-care treatment modalities, including late referral, limited availability of treatment options, reimbursement, support from staff and families, the requirement for a helper and the length of the training programmes for home haemodialysis (HD) were discussed by 21 participants from 12 countries. The 'take-home' messages from the discussion were that to optimise the uptake of self-care modalities, renal units should try to ensure the all patients who are able to choose are fully informed before starting dialysis, even if they are referred to the unit very late. Offering a wide range of treatment options to new patients, and allowing (or encouraging) home HD without a helper, may also increase the number of patients who start and stay on a self-care modality. It should be possible to provide an acceptable level of training, without compromising on safety, within 3 weeks if the patient is confident with needling.