Renal rehabilitation and improved patient outcomes in Texas dialysis facilities

Roberta Braun Curtin, Michael J. Klag, Dara C. Bultman, Dorian Schatell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Because a cure is not a reasonable goal for patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD), optimal physical and mental health functioning are primary objectives of care and major determinants of health-related quality of life, morbidity, and mortality. This cross-sectional study used facility-level survey data to test the hypothesis that dialysis unit rehabilitation activities are associated with higher patient functional status. Methods: Data were collected from 169 dialysis facilities in the ESRD Network of Texas (Network 14), including facility characteristics, facility-level patient demographic and clinical characteristics, and facility rehabilitation activities measured by the Life Options Unit Self-Assessment Tool (USAT). Facility-level data on patient functioning and well-being measured by the Medical Outcomes Study 36-Item Short-Form Health Survey were obtained from all 86 of the respondent facilities that collected it. Results: Most participating facilities reported performing rehabilitation activities in all five categories (encouragement, education, exercise, employment, and evaluation). The median number reported was 32 of a possible 100 activities. Exercise interventions were the least often implemented activities. Linear multiple regression showed that facility rehabilitation activity scores measured by the USAT were associated with higher facility mean Mental Component Scale (MCS) scores, controlling for facility characteristics (size, profit status), facility-level patient demographic characteristics (diabetes, race, sex, age), and facility-level patient laboratory variables: urea reduction ratio and hemoglobin and serum albumin levels. Conclusion: Because MCS scores have been shown in other studies to be inversely related to morbidity and mortality, this finding suggests that the introduction of rehabilitation interventions into the dialysis care regimen may prove beneficial.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)331-338
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Kidney Diseases
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2002


  • Mental component scale (MCS)
  • Mental health functioning
  • Morbidity
  • Mortality
  • Physical functioning
  • Rehabilitation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nephrology


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