The aim was to test the effectiveness of early home-based group education on knowledge and communication about renal replacement therapy (RRT).Methods
We conducted a randomized controlled trial using a cross-over design among 80 end-stage renal disease (ESRD) patients. Between T0 and T1 (weeks 1–4) Group 1 received the intervention and Group 2 received standard care. Between T1 and T2 (weeks 5–8) Group 1 received standard care and Group 2 received the intervention. The intervention was a group education session on RRT options held in the patient's home given by social workers. Patients invited members from their social network to attend. Self-report questionnaires were used at T0, T1 and T2 to measure patients' knowledge and communication, and concepts from the Theory of Planned Behaviour such as attitude. Comparable questionnaires were completed pre–post intervention by 229 attendees. Primary RRT was registered up to 2 years post-intervention. Multilevel linear modelling was used to analyse patient data and paired t-tests for attendee data.Results
Statistically significant increases in the primary targets knowledge and communication were found among patients and attendees after receiving the intervention. The intervention also had a significant effect in increasing positive attitude toward living donation and haemodialysis. Of the 80 participants, 49 underwent RRT during follow-up. Of these, 34 underwent a living donor kidney transplant, of which 22 were pre-emptive.Conclusions
Early home-based group education supports informed decision-making regarding primary RRT for ESRD patients and their social networks and may remove barriers to pre-emptive transplantation.