The following is a summary of “Transportation Burden Associated With Hemodialysis in Canada: A Qualitative Study of Stakeholders,” published in the February 2023 issue of Kidney Medicine by Lewis et al.
Suboptimal transportation arrangements are frequently recognized as a source of persistent stress and anxiety for patients requiring in-center hemodialysis and have been linked to a diminished quality of life and an increased risk of mortality. Given its vastness, relatively low population density, and long, often cold winters, Canada faces unique challenges when it comes to transportation. This study’s purpose was to summarize stakeholders’ experiences and to identify and better understand the transportation choices available to hemodialysis patients in Canada. Researchers conducted a descriptive qualitative study to understand better how different stakeholders perceive dialysis transportation. Eleven members of a project group, forty-five members of an open forum, and eight social workers were recruited from a sizable urban hemodialysis program in Western Canada.
Meetings of the project group and an open forum (n=45) were used to gather information. Researchers also contacted 8 renal social workers in vital Canadian cities to get their feedback on the accessibility of patient transportation. To learn about stakeholders’ perspectives, researchers turned to traditional content analysis. Many dialysis patients and their loved ones still struggle with the anxiety brought on by the long commute to and from treatment centers. Patients cited various circumstances, such as the high expense of care, the inconvenience of having to go to the treatment center (especially in inclement weather), guilt at being a burden on loved ones, and problems with public transportation as causes for these emotions. Results may not apply in nations with lower per capita incomes and warmer average temperatures. The quality of life of patients receiving in-center hemodialysis will likely be negatively impacted by the time and effort required to travel to and from the facility.