Many patients discover that they were not adequately informed of all of their treatment options when diagnosed with kidney disease. As a result, the questions below are frequently asked when patients realize that they have the option of doing their dialysis at home.
What is home hemodialysis?
Can anyone do home hemodialysis?
Is home hemodialysis safe?
What are the benefits to doing home hemodialysis?
So you are on hemodialysis. You have a regular schedule, three times a week, to report to a dialysis center to receive treatment. While certainly you are feeling better, imagine being able to be surrounded by your friends and family in an environment you are comfortable with. This is home hemodialysis, where you set your own treatment schedule. There are three types of hemodialysis that can be performed at home. They are:
- Conventional home hemodialysis: Done three times a week for three to four hours or longer each time.
- Nocturnal home hemodialysis: Treatments are done longer and slower at night while you sleep. Dialysis can be done six nights a week or every other night, depending on what your doctor prescribes for you. Treatments usually last about six to eight hours.
- Short daily home hemodialysis: This is usually done five to seven times a week. Treatments usually last about two hours each.
While most patients may be capable of learning how to do home hemodialysis, this option works best for patients who want to take greater responsibility for their care and seek more flexibility to dialyze on their own schedule.
Home hemodialysis is safe. Patients will typically identify someone who can assist them with their treatments. This may be a spouse, parent, child, professional caregiver or other responsible individual who can be relied upon to provide support during your treatments. There also are agencies who provide support services if needed. You and your caregiver will be trained over several weeks until you both are comfortable with the home hemodialysis treatment process. You will have 24/7 support from CKS medical staff. Your CKS doctor will also monitor you closely to make sure you are getting the right amount of dialysis.
One of the major benefits of doing home hemodialysis is that patients can dialyze more often, meaning less fluid generally needs to be removed during each treatment. This reduces symptoms like headaches, nausea, cramping and feeling “washed out” after treatments. Many reports indicate that home hemodialysis patients live longer, have better quality of life, have fewer and shorter hospital stays, have more energy for daily tasks, and sleep better. Your CKS doctor will talk to you about all of your dialysis choices. Together, we will decide the best treatment for you.