Hobson's choice: dialysis or the coffin: a study of dialysis decision-making amongst older people
Author(s)Fetherstonhaugh, Deirdre Marie Anne
Keywordshemodialysis, haemodialysis, dialysis, peritoneal dialysis, patients, older people, medical care, decision making, ethics, health ethics, end stage renal disease
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AbstractIntroduction: Forty years ago the life saving and life prolonging therapy of dialysis was rationed. It was extremely unlikely that people aged over 50 years would be offered treatment. Today, those aged over 65 years are becoming the fastest growing group of patients on dialysis. Changing population demographics and referral patterns, the opening up of eligibility for dialysis to high risk individuals, refinement and developments in dialysis technology and its ‘success’ in keeping more patients alive for longer periods, along with rising public expectation, are just some of the reasons behind this change in the age profile of those being currently treated for kidney failure. Older people are likely to have multiple co-morbidities and decreased functional status that may complicate their decision-making about dialysis and limit their treatment options.