Journal of Professional Nursing

The impact of dialysis on rurally based Māori and their whānau/families

Li-Chin Shih, RN, MN, Staff Nurse, Clinical Nurse Specialist-Dialysis Access, Renal Unit, Northland District Health Board
Michelle Honey, RN, PhD, FCNA(NZ), Senior Lecturer, School of Nursing, University of Auckland

Reference:  Shih, L-C., & Honey, M. (2011). The impact of dialysis on rurally based Māori and their whānau/families. Nursing Praxis in New Zealand, 27(2), 4-15.


Compared to non-Māori, New Zealand Māori are at a higher risk of kidney disease which can lead to End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) and the consequent need for renal replacement therapy, including dialysis, to sustain life. This study was designed to explore the impact that dialysis has on Māori and their whānau/families. An interpretive approach was used. The purposive sample consisted of seven Māori clients having dialysis as outpatients while living in a rural area of Northland. Clients and their whānau/families were interviewed in 2008. A number of themes summarising client perspectives were indentified from analysis of the responses. Despite their differing journeys to the point of requiring haemodialysis four basic themes were revealed: facing their fear; stress from having haemodialysis; learning, adjusting and changing their attitude; and individual needs. Understanding Māori clients’ experience of haemodialysis provides insight regarding their requirements, most notably in terms of education and support. Recommendations from this study include the need for early referral and effective education to promote self-management – factors which, in turn, can influence quality of life and lead to more cost effective health care.

Kidney failure, Māori, haemodialysis, quality of life


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