The Kidney Foundation of Canada


Dr. Clara Bohm

University of Manitoba, MB

Effect of an exercise rehabilitation program on symptom burden in hemodialysis: a randomized controlled study

Co-applicant(s): Todd Duhamel; Navdeep Tangri; Jennifer M. MacRae; James M. Zacharias; Claudio Rigatto

2018-2020:  $99,973 |  Biomedical Research Grants  |  Category: Dialysis

Lay Summary

People with kidney failure who require hemodialysis to sustain life have multiple symptoms, such as fatigue, pain, and difficulty sleeping which are difficult to treat. This affects their ability to perform everyday activities, enjoy life, and likely increases the risks of hospitalization and dying.

This study will assess whether an exercise rehabilitation program improves symptom burden (the number and severity of symptoms) and quality of life (QOL) in individuals on hemodialysis. We will enroll 150 volunteers who are receiving hemodialysis. Half of the participants will be randomized to receive usual care, which includes exercise counseling. The other half will be randomized to receive usual care plus a 12-week exercise rehabilitation program. We will compare symptom burden and QOL between groups immediately after the program.

The improvement of symptoms and QOL in individuals on dialysis has been identified as a key research priority in Canada. We hope to address this knowledge gap by showing that exercise rehabilitation improves symptom burden and QOL in people receiving hemodialysis.
Such improvements are important for individual health and could also reduce burden and costs to the health care system.


Dr. Clara Bohm received her medical degree from McMaster University. She completed her postgraduate clinical training at the University of Saskatchewan and Dalhousie University and completed a Master of Public Health at John’s Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. She is an Assistant Professor and clinical researcher in the Department of Internal Medicine, University of Manitoba. She also works as a clinical nephrologist in the Manitoba Renal Program. As the Medical Lead of the Manitoba Renal Program’s Exercise and Wellness Program, she has been involved in the design and implementation of evidence-based exercise initiatives for individuals with all stages of chronic kidney disease. She is also a Research Affiliate with the Health, Leisure and Performance Research Institute in the Faculty of Kinesiology at the University of Manitoba. Dr. Bohm’s primary research interests lie in fully characterizing the benefits of activity promotion and exercise programming in individuals with chronic kidney disease and translating these findings into clinical practice to improve health outcomes. She is also involved in several projects seeking ways to redesign care delivery to improve clinical care for individuals with kidney disease.