Despite a growing understanding of health-related quality of life (HRQOL) and its determinants in hemodialysis (HD) patients, little is known about the effects and interrelationships concerning the perception of autonomy support and basic need satisfaction of HD patients on their HRQOL. Based on self-determination theory (SDT), this study examines whether HD patients’ perceived autonomy support from health care practitioners (physicians and nurses) relates to the satisfaction of HD patients’ basic needs and in turn influences their HRQOL.
A questionnaire was administered to 250 Taiwanese HD patients recruited from multiclinical centers and regional hospitals in northern Taiwan. Structural equation modeling (SEM) analysis was conducted to examine the causal relationships between patient perceptions of autonomy support and HRQOL through basic need satisfaction.
The empirical results of SEM indicated that the HD patients’ perceived autonomy support increased the satisfaction of their basic needs (autonomy, competency, and relatedness), as expected. The higher degree of basic need satisfaction led to higher HRQOL, as measured by physical and mental component scores.
Autonomy support from physicians and nurses contributes to improving HD patients’ HRQOL through basic need satisfaction. This indicates that staff caring for patients with severe chronic diseases should offer considerable support for patient autonomy.