Patients with end-stage renal disease receiving dialysis experience a significant symptom burden. Identifying factors associated with this burden may improve symptom management. However, specific evidence about patients’ experiences is lacking.
The aim of this study was to explore factors that are associated with patients’ symptom experiences.
The convergent parallel mixed methods design was used. In the quantitative component, the Dialysis Symptom Index was used to assess the symptom burden of 271 participants to examine its associations with patient characteristics using correlation coefficients and multivariate regression analyses. In the qualitative component, associated factors reported by 10 participants were identified through semistructured interviews using content analysis. Assessments were conducted at enrollment, 6 months, and 12 months. After separate data analyses, findings were integrated using side-by-side comparison and joint display.
Several significant associations were identified between patient characteristics and symptom burden, and the participants described four categories of factors (i.e., treatment related, pathophysiological, situational, dietary) associated with a higher symptom burden during their interviews. Across both components of this study, three factors were consistent (i.e., employment, hyperphosphatemia, anemia). Participants described several factors not reported previously.
This study explored subjective and objective factors influencing the symptom experiences of patients with end-stage renal disease using a mixed methods design. These risk factors can be used to identify high-risk patients. Our findings suggest that participants relied on laboratory results and treatments to explain their symptom experiences. These findings suggest that assessment of both subjective and objective factors is needed to explore patients’ symptom experiences.