Background: Hemodialysis patients experience a high degree of psychosocial impairment.
Methods: The psychosocial status of hemodialysis patients after Hurricane Katrina was evaluated using the Hurricane Coping Self-Efficacy (HCSE) measure, the Short Form-12 Health Survey (physical component summary [PCS] and mental component summary [MCS]), and the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Short Depression Scale (CES-D). These scales were administered to 391 hemodialysis patients (86% participation rate), 7 to 14 months after Hurricane Katrina.
Results: The mean score (standard deviation) was 36.2 (9.6) for the HCSE scale, 37.1 (10.9) and 46.7 (12.7) for the PCS and MCS, respectively, and 10.0 (6.5) on the CES-D. Symptoms of depression (CES-D scores > or =10) were present in 45.5% of patients. After age, race, and gender adjustment, evacuating less than 2 days before Hurricane Katrina making landfall and more fear of dying were associated with less favorable scores on the HCSE, MCS, and CES-D scales. Patients placed in a shelter and with a longer displacement had significantly lower MCS scores and more depressive symptoms. More depressive symptoms were observed among patients hospitalized in the month after the storm. Those who evacuated to a hotel, with more fear of dying and who were hospitalized in the month after Hurricane Katrina had lower scores on the PCS.
Conclusions: Impaired psychosocial status was common among dialysis patients surviving Hurricane Katrina and associated with reduced coping. These data demonstrate the need for screening and management of psychosocial issues in hemodialysis patients after disasters.