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Lovink M.H., Kars M.C., de Man-van Ginkel, J.M. and Schoonhoven, L. (2015) Patients’ experiences of safety during haemodialysis treatment – a qualitative study. Journal of Advanced Nursing. May 25th. .


Aim: To explore the experiences of safety of adult patients during their haemodialysis treatment.

Background: Haemodialysis is a complex treatment with a risk for harm that causes anxiety among many patients. To date, no in-depth study of haemodialysis patients’ emotional responses to conditions of their treatment exists.

Design: A descriptive exploratory qualitative study using content analysis was conducted.

Methods: Outpatients (≥18 years old) (n = 12) who were treated with haemodialysis for more than half a year were purposefully selected from two haemodialysis units (one in an academic hospital and one in a top clinical hospital) in the Netherlands. Data were collected through in-depth individual interviews from January–April 2013. Analysis of the transcribed interviews consisted of open coding, creating categories and synthesis.

Results: Patients defined ‘safety’ as feeling safe from physical or emotional threats. Four main categories were identified in the descriptions of haemodialysis patients’ experiences of safety: (a) insecurity; (b) trust in the nurse; (c) presence of the nurse; and (d) patients’ need to control their situation.

Conclusion: Although haemodialysis patients perceived multiple risks, most patients reported feeling safe during their treatment. The nurse had a pivotal role in promoting patients’ feelings of safety. Nurses should take into account patients’ coping strategies because these coping strategies may cause some patients to feel anxious, especially when patients say that they leave everything to the nurse, yet they still desire control over their treatment.

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