Functional dependencies among the elderly on hemodialysis

Kidney Int. 2008 Jun;73(11):1289-95. doi: 10.1038/ki.2008.62. Epub 2008 Mar 19.


As the dialysis population ages, their limitations in performing daily activities affect the well-being of the patients as well as increase the burden on caregivers and the use of health services. In this cross-sectional study, we measured the proportion of patients 65 years and older undergoing chronic outpatient hemodialysis who needed help with day-to-day activities and identified the clinical characteristics of this population at most risk. Their dependence in performance of basic self-care tasks and instrumental activities such as driving were measured by the Barthel and Lawton Scales. Associations between disability in four basic activities to age, gender, education, multiple prescription drug needs, diabetes, cognition, depressive symptoms, and physical performance were examined using logistic regression. Of the 162 mostly male participants averaging 75 years old, eight had no disability, 69 had only instrumental dependence, and 85 had combined disability. Multiple prescription drug needs, poor timing in 'up-and-go' mobility performance, and education level were associated with basic dependency. Our study shows that the disability in self-care is common among older patients on hemodialysis. Strategies are needed to routinely identify those older dialysis patients at risk of functional impairment and to limit their disabilities.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living*
  • Aged
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Disability Evaluation
  • Female
  • Geriatric Assessment
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Renal Dialysis*