Programmatic variation in home hemodialysis in Canada: results from a nationwide survey of practice patterns

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Pauly, Robert P
Komenda, Paul
Chan, Christopher T
Copland, Michael
Gangji, Azim
Hirsch, David
Lindsay, Robert
MacKinnon, Martin
MacRae, Jennifer M
McFarlane, Philip
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Abstract Background Over 40% of patients with end stage renal disease in the United States were treated with home hemodialysis (HHD) in the early 1970’s. However, this number declined rapidly over the ensuing decades so that the overwhelming majority of patients were treated in-centre 3 times per week on a 3-4 hour schedule. Poor outcomes for patients treated in this fashion led to a renewed interest in home hemodialysis, with more intensive dialysis schedules including short daily (SDHD) and nocturnal (NHD). The relative infancy of these treatment schedules means that there is a paucity of data on ‘how to do it’. Objective We undertook a systematic survey of home hemodialysis programs in Canada to describe current practice patterns. Design Development and deployment of a qualitative survey instrument. Setting Community and academic HHD programs in Canada. Participants Physicians, nurses and technologists. Measurements Programmatic approaches to patient selection, delivery of dialysis, human resources available, and follow up. Methods We developed the survey instrument in three phases. A focus group of Canadian nephrologists with expertise in NHD or SDHD discussed the scope the study and wrote questions on 11 domains. Three nephrologists familiar with all aspects of HHD delivery reviewed this for content validity, followed by further feedback from the whole group. Multidisciplinary teams at three sites pretested the survey and further suggestions were incorporated. In July 2010 we distributed the survey electronically to all renal programs known to offer HHD according to the Canadian Organ Replacement Registry.We compiled the survey results using qualitative and quantitative methods, as appropriate. Results Of the academic and community programs that were invited to participate, 80% and 63%, respectively, completed the survey. We observed wide variation in programmatic approaches to patient recruitment, human resources, equipment, water, vascular access, patient training, dialysis prescription, home requirements, patient follow up, medications, and the approach to non-adherent patients. Limitations Cross-sectional survey, unable to link variation to outcomes. Competition for patients between HHD and home peritoneal dialysis means that case mix for HHD may also vary between centres. Conclusions There is wide variation between programs in all domains of HHD delivery in Canada. We plan further study of the extent to which differences in approach are related to outcomes.
Canadian Journal of Kidney Health and Disease. 2014 Jun 10;1(1):11