Dialysis modality decision-making for older adults with chronic kidney disease

Lori Harwood, Alexander M. Clark

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Articlepeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)


Aims and objectives: To examine the personal and structural facilitators and barriers for home-dialysis decision-making for older adults with chronic kidney disease. Background: Chronic illness is a global problem. Older adults with chronic kidney disease form a large and growing segment of the dialysis population in many high-income countries but are less likely to uptake home-dialysis despite its benefits. Design: This qualitative ethnography framed in social theory took place in Canada and included adults with chronic kidney disease not on dialysis, older than 65 years of age. Methods: Thirteen people (seven men and six women, aged 65-83 years of age) who received care in a team chronic kidney disease clinic took part. Persons with chronic kidney disease were interviewed and group interviews were conducted with four of their chronic kidney disease clinic healthcare professionals. Content analysis was used for data analysis. Results: The factors influencing older adults' chronic kidney disease modality decisions are similar to younger adults. However, older adults with chronic kidney disease are in a precarious state with persistent uncertainty. Age imposes some limitations on modality options and transplantation. Modality decisions were influenced by health status, gender, knowledge, values, beliefs, past experience, preferences, lifestyle and resources. Support from family and healthcare professionals was the largest determinant to home-dialysis selection. Conclusion: The social and contextual factors associated with age influenced home-dialysis decision-making. Adequate social support, functional status and resources enabled home-dialysis selection. Relevance to clinical practice: Understanding more about the decision-making processes for older adults with chronic kidney disease is important for quality interventions and the economic sustainability of dialysis services.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3378-3390
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Clinical Nursing
Issue number23-24
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec. 2014


  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Critical realism
  • Decision-making
  • Home-dialysis


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