Living with End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD): Multiple Perspectives on Suffering and Healing

Dr. Dawn Allen and Dr. Thomas Hutchinson

Hemodialysis

Project Summary

The project, “Living with End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD): Multiple perspectives on suffering and healing” was a two-year study (2006-2008) funded by the Kidney Foundation of Canada and the Donner Canadian Foundation. The goals of the project were several: (a) to better understand the quality of life for people with chronic kidney disease, (b) to identify, with patients, those aspects of their lives that cause suffering and those that promote healing, (c) to encourage changes to treatment and care which will promote healing and hence a better quality of life.

The project initially focused on the use of video as a communication tool amongst the various project stakeholders (health care professionals, patients, patients’ family/friends). With time, what began as a discussion between patients and health professionals grew into a feature-length, patient-centred documentary film about what it is like to live with kidney failure. Our film, Living With Kidney Failure, draws on video data from focus group discussions, biographical interviews, and observation in dialysis units to raise awareness about chronic kidney disease and to promote a better understanding of its quality-of-life implications for people who live with this chronic illness.

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