Travel arrangements in chronic hemodialysis patients: A qualitative study

Janewit Wongboonsin, Joseph R. Merighi, Patricia F. Walker, Paul E. Drawz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Introduction: For patients on renal replacement therapy (RRT), “travel” and “independence” are rated as 2 of the top 5 factors that inform their choice of treatment modality. While home dialysis modalities offer patients a high degree of independence, the most common RRT in the United States is in-center hemodialysis (IHD). The limits imposed by IHD treatment can present a variety of challenges for patients who wish to travel. This study explored how IHD patients managed their travel and the role of dialysis social workers in executing travel arrangements for patients. Methods: We performed a qualitative descriptive investigation using semi-structured interviews with adults receiving IHD (n = 16) and renal social workers (n = 8) from Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. Data were analyzed using a constant comparative method. Findings: Three themes emerged from the interviews: travel process, travel-related barriers, and travel-related facilitators. The travel process entailed transient dialysis unit challenges and the need for multiple preparations and precautions. Barriers included comorbidities and not having a relationship with transient dialysis unit staff. Facilitators focused on the importance of travel and staff professionalism at transient dialysis units. Overall, there was lack of uniform protocols to guide the travel process at the patient and the dialysis unit levels. Discussion: This study identified multiple perspectives regarding travel arrangements in chronic IHD patients. There is limited research on travel issues for IHD patients and this investigation is among the first to articulate barriers and facilitators associated with travel from the perspective of patients and social workers. Supporting travel for IHD patients can increase their sense of autonomy and provide opportunities to improve their quality of life.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)113-122
Number of pages10
JournalHemodialysis International
Issue number1
Early online dateOct 8 2020
StatePublished - Jan 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 International Society for Hemodialysis


  • administrative issues
  • clinical nephrology
  • psychosocial issues
  • quality improvement
  • quality of life
  • travel

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article


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