Self-rated health and employment status in chronic haemodialysis patients.Scand J Urol Nephrol. 2004; 38(2):174-8.SJ
Along with survival and other types of clinical outcome, physical, mental and social well-being are important indicators of the effectiveness of the medical care that haemodialysis (HD) patients receive. The present cross-sectional study was designed to assess self-rated health in HD patients from a large Danish HD centre compared to a Danish general population sample with similar sex and age distributions. Furthermore, employment status and associations between self-rated health and clinical, social and demographic factors were investigated.
MATERIAL AND METHODS
A total of 150 patients were included. They were asked to complete the Short Form 36 (SF-36) questionnaire and additional questions concerning education and employment status. The SF-36 consists of eight scales representing physical, social, mental and general health. Clinical, biochemical and dialysis adequacy data were obtained from hospital records.
A total of 112 patients completed the questionnaire, giving a response rate of 75%. Compared to the general population sample, HD patients scored significantly lower on all eight SF-36 scales (p < 0.01), with the greatest difference being observed for items concerning physical functioning. No correlation was found between any of the eight scales and estimates of dialysis adequacy. Of patients aged 18-60 years, 22% were in employment.
In a large group of Danish HD patients, self-rated health (and especially physical function) was found to be substantially impaired compared to the general population and only a small proportion of patients were employed. We believe that results obtained using the SF-36 questionnaire represent an independent marker of health status in HD patients and should be considered, together with common clinical outcome measures, when monitoring patients. Furthermore, we believe that self-rated health questionnaires are a useful tool for evaluating the need for and the effects of physical activity programmes in a dialysis unit.