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What is Home Hemodialysis?

July 15, 2016

If your kidneys have started to fail, your kidney doctor will present you with the options to replace the job of the kidneys. One of these options is dialysis that can be done at home or place of residence. Home hemodialysis can be done on a schedule convenient to you or your care partner.

 

There are three types of home hemodialysis: traditional, short daily and nocturnal. All of them require a hemodialysis machine for the patient’s home, which is covered by your insurance and available from multiple companies. Today’s advances in technology allow for easier-to-use equipment, home delivery of supplies and blood work monitoring. The traditional home hemodialysis is done three times a week for three to five hours each time. This schedule is similar to in-center hemodialysis treatment. Short daily home hemodialysis has a shorter treatment time but requires more frequent sessions. The average is five to seven days each week for two and a half to three hours at a time. As fluids and waste products are removed more often, you might feel better. Nocturnal home hemodialysis is done at night while the patient is asleep. Sessions can range from six nights a week to every other night, lasting six to eight hours per session.

 

The basic process for Home Hemodialysis is not different than the process of in-center hemodialysis. You’ll need a partner who’s willing and committed to help you and learn everything along with you about dialysis treatment. Before you start home dialysis, you and your partner will go through extensive training with a home dialysis training nurse to learn the whole procedure from start to finish and learn to troubleshoot any problems that may arise. They will teach you how to set up the machine and perform the dialysis. You and your partner will learn how to place the needles in the dialysis access. You will also learn how to monitor the dialysis process and the machine and recording your vital signs during the treatment. Once the training nurse feels confident that you and your partner are ready to do dialysis on your own, you graduate from the training class.

  

Home Dialysis has some advantages that you might benefit from. Above all you do this at the comfort of your home while having access to an on-call nurse over the phone. You can stay on your machine longer or more frequently, if advised by your doctor. This can help you feel better with more energy and less nausea and cramping. You have more flexibility for work or school or other social activities, as your treatments can be scheduled around these activities. You don’t need to leave home for treatment, which saves travel time and transportation costs, plus alleviates weather-related travel worries. Your diet may be more liberal if your doctor prescribes more frequent dialysis treatments. This treatment is more convenient for people who like to travel, as the machines are portable and can be carried in a suitcase.

 

Whether you’re getting ready for dialysis or want to switch to a different type of dialysis, or want to learn more about home hemodialysis, ask your doctor to refer you for dialysis options training.

 




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