Study: Dialysis linked with lower quality of life for nursing home seniors

A new study has drawn an unpleasant conclusion about dialysis for seniors based in nursing homes--that it typically does little to improve their quality of life. The study, which was published in the New England Journal of Medicine, found that within 12 months of starting dialysis, 58 percent of patients died, and only 13 percent were at the same functional level they'd had before starting dialysis.

The study looked at functional status in 3,702 nursing home patients, each of whom were identified from national registries as having started dialysis between June 1998 and October 2000. The premise was that dialysis should improve the quality of life for such patients, given that it should alleviate symptoms of kidney failure, or help patients' ability to take care of themselves.

To researchers' surprise, that didn't turn out to be the case. In reality, patients who need dialysis often have a battery of other symptoms and disability issues to face, undermining the ability of dialysis to help these patients live better, researchers noted.

To learn more about this study:
- read this UPI piece