How Australian nephrologists view home dialysis: results of a national survey

Nephrology (Carlton). 2011 May;16(4):446-52. doi: 10.1111/j.1440-1797.2010.01403.x.


Aim: Australia's commitment to home dialysis therapies has been significant. However, there is marked regional variation in the uptake of home haemodialysis (HD) and peritoneal dialysis (PD) suggesting further scope for the expansion of these modalities.

Methods: Between 1 April and 5 August 2009, Australian nephrologists were invited to complete an online survey. Seventy-six questions were asked covering characteristics of the dialysis units, responders' experience, adequacy of facilities and support structures, attitudes to the use of home HD and PD and issues impeding the increased uptake of home dialysis.

Results: Completed surveys were received and analysed from 71 respondents; 27 from Heads of Units (35% response rate) and 44 (16%) from other nephrologists. There was strong agreement that HD with long hours was advantageous and that this was most easily accomplished in the home. PD was not considered to be an inferior therapy. A 'PD first' policy existed in 34% of Renal Units. The most commonly reported impediments to expanding home dialysis services were financial disadvantage for home HD patients, and lack of physical infrastructure for training, support and education. Areas of concern for expanding home dialysis programmes included psychiatry support, access to respite care and home visits, and lack of support from medical administration and government. The majority of nephrologists would recommend home dialysis to more patients if these impediments could be overcome.

Conclusion: This survey identified support from nephrologists for the expansion of home dialysis in Australia and highlighted important barriers to improving access to these therapies.

MeSH terms

  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Australia
  • Health Care Costs
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Health Services Accessibility
  • Hemodialysis, Home / economics
  • Hemodialysis, Home / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Internet
  • Nephrology / economics
  • Nephrology / statistics & numerical data*
  • Peritoneal Dialysis / economics
  • Peritoneal Dialysis / statistics & numerical data*
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians' / statistics & numerical data*
  • Social Support
  • Surveys and Questionnaires