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Abstract: SA-PO295

Understanding the Personal Experiences of Patients on Hemodialysis

Session Information

Category: Dialysis

  • 701 Dialysis: Hemodialysis and Frequent Dialysis


  • Ye, Wen Qing Wendy, McMaster University Faculty of Health Sciences, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
  • Kim, Jinbaek, McMaster University Faculty of Health Sciences, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
  • Gangji, Azim S., McMaster University Faculty of Health Sciences, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

Patients with end stage kidney disease on hemodialysis (HD) have complex medical, social, and emotional needs. The symptom burden of patients on HD is well documented; however, literature has not fully described the holistic patient experience, such as the social and emotional impact of HD. The objective of this study is to capture the lived experiences of patients on HD, including effects on their emotional health, relationships, and quality of life.


This is a qualitative study. Patients on chronic HD in Hamilton, Ontario were invited to participate. Semi-structured interviews were conducted to understand the effect of HD on their emotional and mental health, and quality of life. Interviews were transcribed and coded to identify emerging themes. A framework of the impact of HD was developed using constructivist grounded theory.


16 interviews were completed as of January 2022. Three themes were identified: 1) expectations of HD, 2) personal and profession impacts, and 3) changes in personal identity (Figure 1). Participants felt their experiences on HD were different from their expectations based on counselling provided by healthcare staff. This included positive and negative experiences. Participants experienced loss of employment opportunities, intimate relationships, and hobbies since starting HD. Some participants noted the emergence of a new identity anchored to HD due to the significant role it played in their lives.


Initiating HD leads to unanticipated losses for patients both personally and professionally. This requires them to undergo a number of complex changes to accommodate HD in their lives. The impact of these changes are far reaching, resulting in patients taking new identities as they cope with their chronic health concerns. Overall, this data provides new insight on the patient experience, and can be used to engage in meaningful conversations about initiation of HD.

Figure 1: Professional and personal impact of hemodialysis on identity formation.