Traditionally, most dialysis treatments are performed in-center at a hospital or outpatient facility, but home dialysis has become an increasingly popular and safe alternative for some patients. If you are interested in performing dialysis at home, it is important to work with your doctors to discuss the quality of life benefits, as well as any medical risks, to jointly decide if home dialysis is right for you. Naturally, your doctor will use his or her judgment to determine whether you are a good candidate for home dialysis and guide your decision based on your individual needs.
As with all forms of dialysis or other medical treatments, safety should always remain the top priority for anyone on home dialysis. In order to perform safe and effective dialysis at home, there are some basic requirements:
Once you and your doctor have determined that home dialysis is right for your care, you will work with a home dialysis provider to participate in a comprehensive training program that is tailored to your specific medical and learning needs. A quality training program will provide the education, tools and support needed to stay healthy and safe while enjoying the many benefits home dialysis can offer.
Every patient and their treatment are unique and training needs vary, so home dialysis providers personalize training programs to help you understand how to perform your individual treatments. During your training, you will learn all the skills and procedures needed to regularly perform your treatments independently. The wide range of topics will include how to: use your equipment, create a hygienic environment, manage supplies, handle needles and keep an organized log of your treatments, among other essential tasks. The length of training programs varies, but most people can usually learn how to safely perform their own peritoneal dialysis within a couple of weeks and home hemodialysis treatments within three to five weeks. The majority of training for at-home treatments is done at dialysis centers.
Some home hemodialysis patients will choose to have a dialysis partner to assist them. This can be a spouse, parent, child, professional caregiver or other responsible person who can be relied upon to provide support. If you have a dialysis partner, he or she will be trained with you.
Even though home dialysis allows you the flexibility to manage your treatments according to your schedule, your nephrologist, who knows you and is familiar with your medical needs, will continue to direct your care. Your nephrologist's ongoing monitoring and support will help ensure your safety and health.
You will learn to record information about each treatment and maintain regular contact with your doctor and care providers so that progress is measured and changes in treatment can be made accordingly. Home dialysis patients also typically visit a dialysis center once or twice a month for an in-person check-up with their doctors.
You should familiarize yourself with your dialysis care provider’s support resources and make sure you have a list of important phone numbers handy in case you have any questions or issues while performing your at-home treatments. If a medical emergency arises, you should always call 911 immediately.
This site is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical advice from a physician.
Please check with a physician if you need a diagnosis and/or for treatments as well as information regarding your specific condition. If you are experiencing urgent medical conditions, call 9-1-1