Investigating how hemodialysis and the related transport needs impact patients

This project explores the impact on patients and their families associated with the frequent travel to a facility for hemodialysis. The focus will be set on the economic aspects of travel and the social impact.



Patients with chronic kidney disease undergoing hemodialysis and their families feel burdened by its physical, psychological, social, and financial impact. This project focusses on transport costs from home to centre-based hemodialysis. This financial burden can be significant, but has hardly been studied.

Course of action

This study uses a mixed methods design. Based on interviews a national survey was developed and conducted. A participatory approach ensures that patients, their families as well as health care professionals are involved in the development.


Around 10% of all Swiss dialysis patients took part in the survey. It emerged that they pay an average of approx. CHF 5,000 per year for a trip to a dialysis centre for haemodialysis. For some patients, the costs are significantly higher than the average, for example if they are dependent on transport services. In this case, the average annual costs are approx. CHF 10,000. Around half of those affected perceive transport costs as burdensome or restrictive. In Switzerland, transport costs to a dialysis centre are not automatically covered by health insurance. Financial support to cover transport costs is not standardised.

Looking ahead

Counselling for all those affected about transport and support options should be promoted. So far, only around half of patients receive counselling in this regard. It is important for those affected to be aware of the financial support options. This project resulted in a corresponding policy brief.

This project contributes to the following SDGs

  • 3: Good health and well-being