Supporting education and management of PD patients at home


In our Peritonealdialysis (PD) unit at Helsinki University Hospital we each year train 45–50 new patients to do PD at home. The average training time is five days. The allocated time is however often too short, because patients need time to adjust to new information, master new skills and make lifestyle changes. The response varies from patient to patient. Using a mixed media approach often works the best.


To improve teaching tools we designed the contents for tablet e.g. photos, videos and text about PD and nutrition. This included step by step instructions of CAPD and APD, how to load the machine, start the treatment etc. The material was produced by ourselves working close together with dietician and company.


Patients (N 13) used the tablet during the training week, or already before it, and became familiar with the content. After the training they brought the tablet with them at home, so they could reacquaint themselves with the topics. One patient used the tablet to get his wife understand the treatment.

We designed tablets for nurses in different wards as well. For example in postoperative care the tablet was useful for nurses who were not familiar with PD.


Positively influenced 

Ten patients gave feedback after using a tablet at home. They were positively influenced to take better care of themselves after watching teaching material on a tablet. Patients reported that the tablet was easy to use, even to those who had no experience of computers. The content of the tablet was illustrative, useful and added to the patients’ sense of security. All the patients readily recommended the use of tablet to other patients.

In postoperative care we may avoid a temporary hemodialysis period by using tablet as an introduction tool to PD-treatment.


The tablet was very useful

Nurses (N 11) felt that the tablet was very useful and helped them when taking care of patients. Information on the tablet was beneficial and it was easy to use. It replaced the “short guide book”. All nurses (N 12) recommended this kind of patient education for others to use.

Today’s situation and developing plans for future

We have five tablets for patients and one for other clinics, and they are continually in use. Most of our patients want to take the tablet with them at home and continue the process of adapting to PD treatment. We nowadays have about 100 patients receiving PD treatment and it is very common that they have to stay in different hospitals or wards where nurses are not used to do PD treatment, so there is certainly a need for more tablets.

We have a “Virtual Hospital” at Helsinki University Hospital called Terveyskylä.fi. In this virtual hospital we are developing digital healthcare services concerning kidney diseases to citizens, patients and professionals. We fulfill that development together with patients and other university hospitals in Finland and we hope that these services will result in many new tools also for patient education and the challenge of managing well at home.


Skribent: Pirgit Silvast-Äikäs, RN, Deputy Ward Manager

Dialysis Training Center, Helsinki University Hospital