Background: Today, despite remarkable advances in the care of hemodialysis patients, the quality of life (QOL) for these patients is still unsatisfactory. Although previous reports confirmed the effect of exercise on the well-being of renal patients, less than 50% of end-stage kidney patients participate in a regular sports program. Tai chi is a slow and gentle exercise that is suitable for people with chronic illnesses and those with severe intolerance of exercise. Therefore, this study aimed to determine the effect of tai chi exercise on the QOL of hemodialysis patients.
Materials and methods: This was a quasi-experimental study conducted in a single group and in two steps. Twenty-five hemodialysis patients, admitted to hospitals in Isfahan, Iran, were selected, and their QOL was compared before and after intervention in two domains of satisfaction and importance. Convenience sampling was used. The sampling was convenience. The subjects were trained in the intervention through a single session of tai chi exercise class for one hour weekly, for 12 weeks, with a training compact disc (CD) that helped the patients to exercise at least twice a week at home. Data were collected by the completion of a demographic characteristics form and a researcher-made QOL questionnaire adopted from Ferrans and Powers Quality of Life Index Dialysis Version and the Kidney Disease Quality of Life-Short Form (KDQOL-SF) questionnaire by the researchers. The data were analyzed by a paired t-test through SPSS software version 18.
Results: Data analysis showed that there was a statistically significant difference in health and functioning (P < 0.001), socioeconomic (P < 0.001), and psychospiritual (P < 0.001) dimensions, and the family dimension had P = 0.002 in the satisfaction domain and P = 0.008 in the importance domain; the total score of quality of life in both domains was P < 0.001.
Conclusions: According to the research findings, tai chi exercise improves the QOL score significantly in all dimensions, and adding tai chi classes to the rehabilitation program of hemodialysis patients can have a positive effect including an improved QOL for them. Therefore, this study supports the results of other research studies that showed positive effects of tai chi on QOL.
Keywords: End-stage renal diseases; Iran; hemodialysis; quality of life; tai chi.