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While peritoneal dialysis (PD) is a home-based treatment, you're never alone. You have an entire care team supporting you with education and training while monitoring your treatment. This team is focused on helping you live a better quality of life on dialysis.
Your nephrologist is the doctor specializing in your kidney care. She or he decides, with you, when to begin dialysis, then prescribes and monitors your treatment. You will likely see your nephrologist monthly at your DaVita® center (or your nephrologist's office) for checkups.
With PD, you are assigned a nephrology nurse and/or a home-training nurse to educate you, meet with you during in-center checkups, and keep your nephrologist informed about your health. He or she will teach you to do PD, which takes a few weeks, making sure you are comfortable with it. Your nurse is often the first point of contact for most questions or problems and (in most communities) is available by phone 24 hours a day. However, if you are experiencing urgent medical conditions, you should always dial 9-1-1.
Think of your dietitian as a special consultant to you and your family. She or he reviews your lab reports and develops a diet plan specific to your nutritional needs. Remember, your diet plays a big role in feeling good during dialysis, so it is important to follow your dietitian's advice.
Your social worker helps you and your family adjust to your health condition. He or she assesses the social and medical aspects of your life, then provides you and your family with support and resources. Your social worker can also put you in touch with support groups.
Your insurance specialist can help provide answers and resources for insurance concerns you may have—including financial resources that may help pay for treatment and medications. Call 1-855-5-Dialysis for assistance or fill out the form.
PD may be more comfortable for you with someone assisting you (although it is not required). Your care partner can be your spouse, a family member, a friend or a hired caregiver. This person contributes to your care every day, providing physical and emotional support.
Your support system can be made up of your family, friends, coworkers—anyone who plays a supportive role in your life. These people are the ones who help cheer you up, keep you active and are there to help you with anything you may need. The ideal way to build a support system is to confide in people you trust about your health condition and ask for their support.
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