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A2. The carer’s perception of dietitians’ advice and its impact on the management of patients receiving haemodialysis

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Background Patients with end stage renal disease and their carers suffer many changes in their daily life style as a result of haemodialysis (HD) treatment. Information and education concerning the management of dietary requirements and restrictions for renal patients should be aimed at both patients and their carers.

Aim This study investigated the impact of dietitians’ involvement and advice on the carers’ ability to manage patients’ dietary/fluid requirements.

Method A total of 36 carers of renal patients receiving unit haemodialysis treatment were randomly recruited into this study from a hospital in Cardiff, Wales. All the carers completed the Haemodialysis carers questionnaire (HCQ), specifically designed for this study, delivered to them in the outpatient clinic by the dietitian.

Results Of the 36 carers, 22 (61%) were female, six (16.7%) were male and eight (22%) did not report their gender. Thirteen (36%) of the carers were between the ages of 20–54 years and 23 (64%) were 55 years of age and older. Twenty‐six (72%) of the carers involved in this study were spouses and 34 (94.4%) of the carers lived with the patient. The mean duration of haemodialysis treatment for the patient was found to be 20 months. The results indicated that although the majority of the carers were informed about patients’ dietary and fluid restrictions, 45% had not received any dietary information. Dietitians’ one‐to–one interactions with the carer was the most effective way of providing information in enabling them to better manage the patient compared to other methods such as leaflet and information packs (P = 0.01). The majority of the carers knew how to contact the renal dietitian, however, many did not (P = 0.001). Almost all the carers considered receiving information about the purpose of HD, feed back on the patients’ condition, fluid/dietary restriction and details of available community resources as very important. Those carers who had the benefit of a dietitian’s involvement believed that their advice was very helpful and enabled them to cope better with the management and complications of patient fluid and dietary requirements (P < 0.02). Strong correlations were found (rs = 0.67; P < 0.01) between the amount of information received by the carers and the level of the carers satisfaction with this information. In contrast, there were no significant correlations between the amount of information received by the carers and different aspects of managing the patients’ diet, because 45% of the carers received none or little information.

Conclusions Dietitians should involve the carers in the management of HD patient’s dietary/fluid requirements and restrictions in order to provide better quality of care and quality of life for both the patient and the carer.
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Document Type: Abstract

Affiliations: Department of Nutrition & Dietetics, University of Wales Institute, Cardiff

Publication date: 2000-10-01

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