Choosing a Dialysis Center

No matter which type of dialysis treatment option you choose, you will want a dialysis center that is near your home or work. Here are some questions you may have when looking for a dialysis center that is convenient to where you are.

Where do I go for dialysis?

There are two main types of kidney dialysis: hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis (PD). If you and your doctor decide that hemodialysis is a better dialysis treatment option for you at this time, you can then decide whether to do traditional in-center hemodialysis or home hemodialysis (HHD). If you and your doctor believe PD is a better treatment you will be trained to perform dialysis at home.

For those who choose in-center hemodialysis the types of treatment options include traditional in-center hemodialysis, in-center self care hemodialysis and in-center nocturnal hemodialysis. Traditional in-center hemodialysis is performed in a dialysis center by trained health care professionals three days a week, usually for about four hours per treatment. With in-center self care hemodialysis, you—and your care partner if you choose to have one—will be trained by the dialysis care professionals to perform part or all of your dialysis treatment. Like traditional in-center hemodialysis, self care hemodialysis is performed in a dialysis clinic three times each week for about four hours per treatment. In-center nocturnal hemodialysis is performed by dialysis professionals in a dialysis facility overnight for six to eight hours while you sleep.

Even if you choose HHD or PD, which are both performed at home, you will still visit a dialysis center, usually once a month, to check in with your dialysis care team.

If you would like to see which dialysis treatment options may best fit your lifestyle and would like to learn more about the different dialysis choices, you can try out DaVita’s Treatment Evaluator.

Do I have a choice where I get dialysis?

Yes, in most cases (depending on your insurance), you have the right to choose a dialysis center and to change dialysis facilities if you are not happy with the one you are going to. Sometimes changing dialysis centers means that you may need to change nephrologist.

Most people choose a dialysis clinic that is conveniently located near where they live or work. You can find a dialysis facility close to your home or work using DaVita’s Find a Dialysis Center tool. This tool lists thousands of dialysis facilities across the United States. The listing will tell you which dialysis modalities are offered at each center. If the dialysis center nearest you does not list one of the modality options you are interested in; call the dialysis center and ask if they will be adding that dialysis option in the near future.

You can also find out the quality ratings of dialysis centers near you by looking them up on Medicare’s Dialysis Facility Compare website.

Can I take a tour of a dialysis center before I start dialysis?

Yes, taking a tour is a great idea. It is recommended that you visit the dialysis center and meet the people who will be taking care of you. To arrange your tour at a DaVita dialysis center, please call DaVita Guest Services at 1-800-244-0680 from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. (PT).

What should I ask about a dialysis center before choosing one?

Each dialysis center is a little different. Policies and practices can even vary at different dialysis center locations in the same company. Some dialysis facilities will schedule treatments around your job or family obligations, while others will not. Some allow patients to eat during dialysis, while others do not. Some centers have internet access, patient education and exercise programs, and some don’t. You may want to write up a list of questions to take with you when you visit centers near you before making a choice.

Can my family and friends come with me to dialysis?

Dialysis center visitor policies vary. Under privacy rules, you will need to sign a written form to permit certain family, friends or others close to you to be with you during dialysis treatment. It may be okay to have one visitor stay with you during your dialysis treatment. A large family group might take up too much room or cause a disruption on the dialysis clinic floor. If it is important to you to have someone with you during treatment, talk with the dialysis facility’s care team to see if it can be arranged.