Open Access Open Badges Study protocol

Exploring the impact of a decision support intervention on vascular access decisions in chronic hemodialysis patients: study protocol

Mary Ann Murray1*, Alison Thomas2, Ron Wald2, Rosa Marticorena2, Sandra Donnelly3 and Lianne Jeffs2

Author Affiliations

1 The Ottawa Hospital, Riverside Campus, 1967 Riverside Drive, Ottawa ON, K1BH 7W9, Canada

2 St Michael's Hospital, 30 Bond Street, Toronto, ON, M5B 1W8, Canada

3 St Michael's Hospital, 61 Queen Street East, Suite 7-030, Toronto, ON, M5C 2T2, Canada

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BMC Nephrology 2011, 12:7  doi:10.1186/1471-2369-12-7

Published: 3 February 2011



In patients with Stage 5 Chronic Kidney Disease who require renal replacement therapy a major decision concerns modality choice. However, many patients defer the decision about modality choice or they have an urgent or emergent need of RRT, which results in them starting hemodialysis with a Central Venous Catheter. Thereafter, efforts to help patients make more timely decisions about access choices utilizing education and resource allocation strategies met with limited success resulting in a high prevalent CVC use in Canada. Providing decision support tailored to meet patients' decision making needs may improve this situation. The Registered Nurses Association of Ontario has developed a clinical practice guideline to guide decision support for adults living with Chronic Kidney Disease (Decision Support for Adults with Chronic Kidney Disease.) The purpose of this study is to determine the impact of implementing selected recommendations this guideline on priority provincial targets for hemodialysis access in patients with Stage 5 CKD who currently use Central Venous Catheters for vascular access.


A non-experimental intervention study with repeated measures will be conducted at St. Michaels Hospital in Toronto, Canada. Decisional conflict about dialysis access choice will be measured using the validated SURE tool, an instrument used to identify decisional conflict. Thereafter a tailored decision support intervention will be implemented. Decisional conflict will be re-measured and compared with baseline scores. Patients and staff will be interviewed to gain an understanding of how useful this intervention was for them and whether it would be feasible to implement more widely. Quantitative data will be analyzed using descriptive and inferential statistics. Statistical significance of difference between means over time for aggregated SURE scores (pre/post) will be assessed using a paired t-test. Qualitative analysis with content coding and identification of themes will be conducted for the focus group and patient interview data.


Coupling the SURE tool with a decision support system structured so that a positive test result triggers providers to help patients through the decision-making process and/or refer patients to appropriate resources could benefit patients and ensure they have the opportunity to make informed HD access choices.