Dialysis study
Many patients often feel better on home dialysis because it can be done more frequently, after work hours or overnight. (Photo: iStock)

A group of researchers at UHN have found compelling evidence that shifting more people to home dialysis could provide significant savings for the healthcare system and better survival rates for patients.

Patients who suffer from end-stage kidney disease require dialysis to remove waste and excess fluid from their blood. This requires the patient to be hooked up to a dialysis machine for 12 to 15 hours a week.

The procedure can be performed at home, but most patients receive treatment in a dialysis clinic. This is partly because there is insufficient evidence to support wider adoption of home dialysis.

To address this gap, Dr. Murray Krahn, a Senior Scientist at the Toronto General Hospital Research Institute, led a study that analyzed the healthcare costs and survival rates of patients who received dialysis in the province of Ontario.

The research showed that costs for patients receiving home dialysis were 60 per cent lower than those for patients receiving dialysis in a clinic. In addition, the patients who received home dialysis had better survival rates compared to those who received dialysis at the clinic.

"Home dialysis offers patients a lot more independence as well as the option of having more frequent dialysis at times that are convenient for them," says Dr. Krahn. "It also costs less than dialysis at a clinic and would generate significant cost-savings for the province's healthcare system."

This work was supported by the Ontario Renal Network and the Toronto General & Western Hospital Foundation. Dr. Krahn holds a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Health Technology Assessment.

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