Clinicians' perspectives on equity of access to dialysis and kidney transplantation for rural people in Australia: a semistructured interview study

Nicole Jane Scholes-Robertson, Talia Gutman, Martin Howell, Jonathan Craig, Rachel Chalmers, Karen M. Dwyer, Matthew Jose, Ieyesha Roberts, Allison Tong

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Abstract

OBJECTIVES: People with chronic kidney disease requiring dialysis or kidney transplantation in rural areas have worse outcomes, including an increased risk of hospitalisation and mortality and encounter many barriers to accessing kidney replacement therapy. We aim to describe clinicians' perspectives of equity of access to dialysis and kidney transplantation in rural areas. DESIGN: Qualitative study with semistructured interviews. SETTING AND PARTICIPANTS: Twenty eight nephrologists, nurses and social workers from 19 centres across seven states in Australia. RESULTS: We identified five themes: the tyranny of distance (with subthemes of overwhelming burden of travel, minimising relocation distress, limited transportation options and concerns for patient safety on the roads); supporting navigation of health systems (reliance on local champions, variability of health literacy, providing flexible models of care and frustrated by gatekeepers); disrupted care (without continuity of care, scarcity of specialist services and fluctuating capacity for dialysis); pervasive financial distress (crippling out of pocket expenditure and widespread socioeconomic disadvantage) and understanding local variability (lacking availability of safe and sustainable resources for dialysis, sensitivity to local needs and dependence on social support). CONCLUSIONS: Clinicians identified geographical barriers, dislocation from homes and financial hardship to be major challenges for patients in accessing kidney replacement therapy. Strategies such as telehealth, outreach services, increased service provision and patient navigators were suggested to improve access.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere052315
Number of pages11
JournalBMJ Open
Volume12
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2022

Keywords

  • chronic renal failure
  • dialysis
  • renal transplantation

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