Living with frailty and haemodialysis: a qualitative study

Hannah M.L. Young*, Nicki Ruddock, Mary Harrison, Samantha Goodliffe, Courtney J. Lightfoot, Juliette Mayes, Andrew C. Nixon, Sharlene A. Greenwood, Simon Conroy, Sally J. Singh, James O. Burton, Alice C. Smith, Helen Eborall

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Background: Frailty is highly prevalent in people receiving haemodialysis (HD) and is associated with poor outcomes. Understanding the lived experiences of this group is essential to inform holistic care delivery. Methods: Semi-structured interviews with N = 25 prevalent adults receiving HD from 3 HD units in the UK. Eligibility criteria included a Clinical Frailty Scale (CFS) score of 4–7 and a history of at least one fall in the last 6 months. Sampling began guided by maximum variation sampling to ensure diversity in frailty status; subsequently theoretical sampling enabled exploration of preliminary themes. Analysis was informed by constructivist grounded theory; later we drew upon the socioecological model. Results: Participants had a mean age of 69 ± 10 years, 13 were female, and 13 were White British. 14 participants were vulnerable or mildly frail (CFS 4–5), and 11 moderately or severely frail (CFS 6–7). Participants characterised frailty as weight loss, weakness, exhaustion, pain and sleep disturbance arising from multiple long-term conditions. Participants’ accounts revealed: the consequences of frailty (variable function and psychological ill-health at the individual level; increasing reliance upon family at the interpersonal level; burdensome health and social care interactions at the organisational level; reduced participation at the community level; challenges with financial support at the societal level); coping strategies (avoidance, vigilance, and resignation); and unmet needs (overprotection from family and healthcare professionals, transactional health and social care exchanges). Conclusions: The implementation of a holistic needs assessment, person-centred health and social care systems, greater family support and enhancing opportunities for community participation may all improve outcomes and experience. An approach which encompasses all these strategies, together with wider public health interventions, may have a greater sustained impact. Trial registration: ISRCTN12840463.

Original languageEnglish
Article number260
JournalBMC Nephrology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 22 Jul 2022

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Dialysis
  • Frailty
  • Haemodialysis
  • Interviews
  • Multi-morbidity
  • Patient experience
  • Qualitative


Dive into the research topics of 'Living with frailty and haemodialysis: a qualitative study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this