Preparing for Dialysis

It’s good to go in with a game plan when it’s time for dialysis, whether it’s your first treatment day or your 50th. We’ve come up with 10 ways to help you prepare and maintain your quality of life on dialysis.

1. Be an A+ student

Stay in the know about your condition. Sign up for a Kidney SmartSM class, attend online classes, read informative articles and learn from your kidney care team.

2. Have a kidney care gathering

Talk to loved ones and friends about your need for dialysis and how you’re feeling. Getting support early on and often can help you feel prepared for dialysis.

3. Decisions, decisions…about dialysis

Discuss your treatment options—from home dialysis to in-center hemodialysis—with your nephrologist so you can work together to find just the right fit. Take a short quiz with the Treatment Evaluator and bring the results to your next doctor’s appointment.

4. Patients to the rescue

Reach out to people who can relate to what you’re going through. Current dialysis patients can help you navigate the ins and outs of dialysis preparation. Go to the Forums to view active conversations or start one of your own.

5. From point A to point B

Map out which centers and medical facilities are close to where you live or work, so you can plan comfortable and convenient transportation. Find one using Find a Dialysis Center.

6. All-access pass—to dialysis

To receive dialysis, you’ll need to undergo a procedure to place an "access"—PD catheter placement for peritoneal dialysis, and AV fistula or graft placement for hemodialysis. Your doctor will discuss how to prepare for the access placement surgery once you decide on a treatment.

7. Cover yourself with insurance

Health insurance can help you pay for dialysis treatments, but it’s important to know exactly what it covers and whether or not you’ll need additional financial assistance before you start treatment. Call a DaVita insurance specialist for help at 1-855-5-DIALYSIS.

8. Keep your 9 to 5 when you have kidney disease

Staying on the job when you need dialysis is vital to your well-being, both mentally and financially. Talk to your employer about how your job can be tailored to your needs once you begin treatment.

9. Kidney-friendly kitchen remodel

A renal dietitian will walk you through your prescribed kidney diet and help you revamp your grocery list. You’ll be eating foods that are both delicious and kidney-friendly in no time. For meal ideas, check out more than 800 recipes on

10. Take control of your kidney health

Manage your kidney care by signing up for Join groups, find others like you, save recipes and customize your profile. If you start treatment with DaVita, you can log into the DaVita Health Portal™ to track your lab results and nutrition goals and even organize your medications.