Background: The proportion of older people receiving dialysis is rapidly increasing. The typical choice for older patients is between home-based peritoneal dialysis (PD) and clinic-based haemodialysis (HD). Some centres have been successful in encouraging all patients - including older patients - to have home-based self-administered PD or HD.
Aim: To (i) describe the overall satisfaction with renal services among older patients dialysing, or in training, with HD or PD at home; and (ii) examine the relationship between residential distance from the nephrology unit and satisfaction with home-based dialysis.
Methods: Participants were aged 60 years or more; and were either dialysing at home or training for dialysis at home. Two methods of cross-sectional data collection were used: (i) structured quantitative interviews with all participants; and (ii) qualitative interviews with a selected subgroup.
Results: Participants comprised 45 patients on dialysis (94% of 48 eligible). Their average age was 68 years. Duration of dialysis averaged 28 months (range 3-150 months). Ratings of 'very good or excellent' were reported for dialysis treatment by 40 (89%) patients. Patients on dialysis, despite experiencing frustration with dialysis itself, expressed satisfaction across four categories: staff, information provision, involvement in decision-making and confidence in managing dialysis. Dissatisfaction was infrequent.
Conclusion: This pilot study suggests that older patients trained to dialyse at home using PD or HD are highly satisfied with the nephrology service - even when living remote from the nephrology unit. Home-based dialysis is possible in older patients with levels of comorbidity and disease severity as serious as elsewhere.