The experiences of suffering of end-stage renal failure patients in Malaysia: a thematic analysis

Tan Seng Beng, Loh Ai Yun, Liew Xin Yi, Loo Hui Yan, Ng Kok Peng, Lim Soo Kun, Sheriza Izwa Zainuddin, Loh Ee Chin, Lam Chee Loong


Background: The population of end-stage renal failure (ESRF) receiving dialysis treatment is increasing worldwide. For most patients with ESRF, dialysis can extend their life. However, treatment can be demanding and time-consuming. Despite dialysis treatment, many patients continue to experience various sufferings.
Methods: A qualitative study was conducted with semi-structured interviews to explore the experiences of suffering of ESRF patients on maintenance dialysis in Malaysia. The results were thematically analyzed.
Results: Nineteen ESRF patients were interviewed. The themes and subthemes were: (I) physical suffering—physical symptoms and functional limitations, (II) psychological suffering—the emotions and thoughts of suffering, (III) social suffering—healthcare-related suffering and burdening of others and (4) spiritual suffering—the queries of suffering.
Conclusions: These findings may help healthcare professionals to fill in the gaps in the delivery of best renal palliative care.