Perspectives on decision making amongst older people with end-stage renal disease and caregivers in Singapore: A qualitative study.

Journal Article (Journal Article)


End-stage renal disease (ESRD) is increasing both globally and in Asia. Singapore has the fifth highest incidence of ESRD worldwide, a trend that is predicted to rise. Older patients with ESRD are faced with a choice of haemodialysis, peritoneal dialysis or conservative management, all of which have their risks and benefits.


This study seeks to explore perspectives on decision making amongst older (≥70) Singaporean ESRD patients and their caregivers to undergo (or not to undergo) dialysis.


Qualitative study design using semi-structured interviews.

Setting and participants

Twenty-three participants were recruited from the largest tertiary hospital in Singapore: seven peritoneal dialysis patients, five haemodialysis patients, four patients on conservative management and seven caregivers.


While some patients believed that they had made an independent treatment decision, others reported feeling like they had no choice in the matter or that they were strongly persuaded by their doctors and/or family members to undergo dialysis. Patients reported decision-making factors including loss of autonomy in daily life, financial burden (on themselves or on their families), caregiving burden, alternative medicine, symptoms and disease progression. Caregivers also reported concerns about financial and caregiving burden.

Discussion and conclusion

This study has identified several factors that should be considered in the design and implementation of decision aids to help older ESRD patients in Singapore make informed treatment decisions, including patients' and caregivers' decision-making factors as well as the relational dynamics between patients, caregivers and doctors.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Han, E; Haldane, V; Koh, JJK; Quek, RYC; Ozdemir, S; Finkelstein, EA; Jafar, TH; Choong, H-L; Gan, S; Lim, LWW; Shiraz, F; Legido-Quigley, H

Published Date

  • October 2019

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 22 / 5

Start / End Page

  • 1100 - 1110

PubMed ID

  • 31418984

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC6803400

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1369-7625

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1369-6513

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1111/hex.12943


  • eng