Read This – 5 Things You Should Know Before You Sign Up For Home Hemodialysis

As with the majority of treatments for kidney disease and failure, patients have the option to include home hemodialysis as part of their daily regimen. The ability to maintain a life outside of a dialysis center can almost inspiring for some patients, especially those that feel as though their independence is being hindered by their treatments.

However, because hemodialysis is going to be taking place in someone’s home, the patient and his/her caregiver (if applicable) will be responsible for maintaining the treatment. This is no small task, and while it does grant a patient a major boost in confidence because they are a part of the process, it does ask a lot of them as well.

Before deciding that home hemodialysis is right for you, consider the following:

1. The history of hemodialysis does lend itself to having a place at a patient’s home. Within ten years of hemodialysis being used as a treatment, nearly half of these patients received treatment at home. For a patient considering home treatment, this is good to hear.

2. There will be an initially large amount of anxiety for involved in the process. Remember, many of the patients taking on their hemodialysis at home do not have a background in medicine. Their caregiver, who is usually a spouse, also may not have medical experience, so both of you will experience some level of hesitation and worry about making sure everything goes right so as to not make the patient vulnerable.

3. There is less social interaction experienced by patients who manage their hemodialysis at home. Dialysis centers are set up for the comfort of patients who, at times, must be at the center multiple times a week for hours at a time. It becomes a new normal, however, and patients sitting next to one another become close because they have a common bond. Patients receiving treatment at home may either interact with their caregiver or, if they live alone, possibly no one unless they receive visitors.

4. Per the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), “Hemodialysis is a treatment for kidney failure that uses a machine to filter your blood outside your body.” In short, this treatment is necessary for your kidneys to do their job, which is essential to you staying alive. You and/or your caregiver will also need to undergo weeks of training to make sure you can handle treatments at home. There is a major ‘if’ attached to that because if you and/or your caregiver cannot handle the steps in treatment, then a safe environment cannot guaranteed.

5. The law requires that patients must be notified that they have a choice regarding at-home hemodialysis treatment. They must receive information regarding where they can go to receive training on the process, as well as where they can receive general education on treatment options.

Home hemodialysis can be a fitting way for a patient becoming accustomed to a new way of life to feel as though they still have independence and are not being hindered by their kidney failure. However, this independence does have quite a large amount of responsibility, and it is the job of all parts of the healthcare team, including the patient, to understand this responsibility and choose the treatment option that is optimal for their health.

Knowing More About Myths of Home Dialysis Treatment

Medical science has allowed human beings to lead longer lives than once was thought possible, and part of these advances is the implementation of at-home dialysis treatment. Given the prognosis of either chronic disease of a vital organ or total organ failure, survival was not imaginable. Now, dialysis allows those with major kidney malfunction to lead longer lives.

The questions that remain regarding at-home dialysis, however, are due, in part, to the unknowns surrounding how it works and what will become of not only the patient but also his/her family. As was the case with our ancestors, a lack of knowledge on a topic led to a creation of a mythology surrounding that which we didn’t know.

Here are five prevalent myths about at-home dialysis treatment and the information you need to actually know:

1. “Dialysis treatment of any kind is going to be painful.” You shouldn’t experience pain during your treatments, notify someone ASAP. There are some patients experience low blood pressure, which can cause nausea, vomiting, headaches, or cramps, but this is not the case for the majority of patients.

2. “Because of my treatments, I’ll always be stuck at home.” You can actually travel on dialysis, but it requires a little forethought planning. In that respect, perhaps the quick road-trips may be impacted. For those on home dialysis, you can work with your dialysis team (your doctors, caregiver, and possibly a social worker) to have supplies to be delivered ahead of your prospective travel so that you’ll meet them at your destination. Plus, a number of home dialysis machines come with a traveling case.

3. “I won’t be able to work anymore.” If there is one thing that dialysis does not aim to do is take away your independence. Yes, your life has changed in a major way, but unless you’ve been told that it poses a significant threat to your health, going to work or school is still a part of their lives.

4. “Dialysis costs too much, which means I can’t afford it.” Between aid from the state and federal governments and support from private health insurance, cost should not be the reason to be unable to afford your treatments. If, however, you are experiencing financial woes, there may be resources available to help.

5. “I’m no longer important enough to listen to because of this machine.” Dialysis patients, either going to a treatment center or maintaining treatment at home, may be hit by waves of emotion due to their new circumstances. Part of these emotions may include feeling as though they are not being listened to and that their input means nothing. As the patient, you are the most essential part of the process. Keep in mind that patients have a Bill of Rights that is in place to make sure patients are being heard while also having tenets regarding quality care and privacy.

At-home dialysis treatments, or dialysis as a whole, is not a death sentence. By virtue of the life-saving procedure, those whose lives would have been lost before now have a chance to still lead productive lives. By talking to your doctor and understanding what is involved in your treatment, you become an active part of your own well-being.