Life with a hemodialysis machine

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The aim of the present study was to describe the experience of patients undergoing haemodialysis starting from their own perception. A qualitative perspective using Merleau Ponty's Existential Phenomenology was considered to be the most appropriate methodology for this study. Fifteen patients were interviewed in a haemodialysis unit at a Brazilian teaching hospital. Interviews were based on the question 'What does the experience of living with a haemodialysis machine mean?' Convergences in speeches were grouped into three categories: the machine, improvement in quality of life, reflection on patients' experience. These findings show the existential reality patients experience. A haemodialysis machine dictates their lives: they have to accept strict rules controlled by a team of healthcare providers. They realize it has to be so and there is no way out. It is the only way to get some relief from the symptoms of the disease. The feeling is mostly acceptance of the condition. Healthcare providers' dedication is recognized. Some participants complain bout painful procedures, others deny them, others fantasize the reality. An essential piece of information is the lack of future perspectives; few patients mentioned the possibility of a transplant or the possibility of carrying out their own care. The study may contribute in outlining new perspectives for nurses to understand the needs of patients undergoing haemodialysis. An approach accepting patients' views will probably bring awareness to patients as to the possibilities of helping with their own treatment.



adult, aged, Brazil, comparative study, female, human, interview, male, middle aged, psychological aspect, quality of life, renal replacement therapy, Adult, Aged, Female, Humans, Interviews, Male, Middle Aged, Quality of Life, Renal Dialysis

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EDTNA/ERCA journal (English ed.), v. 32, n. 3, p. 147-152, 2006.