Your Peritoneal Dialysis Support Team

When you do peritoneal dialysis (PD), you’re never alone. You have an entire medical team focused on your care. These healthcare professionals will educate you, train you, make changes to your dialysis treatment when necessary, monitor your health to make sure you are achieving your best possible results and support you every step of the way. Although there is much overlap in the interactions each of these professionals will have with you, they each have their areas of specific focus. Your PD team will be made up of:

Your nephrologist

Your nephrologist is the physician specializing in your kidney care. He or she is the one who will decide, with you, when you should begin dialysis. Your nephrologist will also prescribe your dialysis treatment and monitor your ongoing care. You will have in-center visits once a month in which your nephrologist may be present. If you do not see your nephrologist at the DaVita® center, your nephrologist will most likely schedule a separate visit for you once a month in his or her office to assess your medical condition and determine if any changes need to be made to your current dialysis prescription. If your doctor would like to see you more than once a month, he or she will be able to schedule additional visits with you.

Your peritoneal dialysis (PD) nurse

Your nephrology nurse is the nurse specializing in your kidney care. When you decide to do PD, you will be assigned a nurse who will help educate you about your health condition, meet with you during your in-center check ups and communicate information about your health to your nephrologist. He or she will also teach you how to do the home treatment that you and your doctor have selected. PD training takes one to two weeks. During this time, you will get to know your nurse well and will have plenty of opportunities to ask him or her any questions you may have.

Your nephrology or home-training nurse is the point of first contact for most questions or problems that may arise related to your dialysis. In most communities, a nurse will be available to you by phone 24 hours a day.

Your home-training nurse

When you decide to do home dialysis, you will be assigned a home-training nurse. He or she will teach you how to do the home treatment that you and your doctor have selected. PD training takes one to two weeks. During this time, you will get to know your home-training nurse well and will have plenty of opportunities to ask any questions you may have.

Your dietitian

Your dietitian will serve as a dietary consultant to you and your family. He or she will review your lab reports and provide support, education and diet tips tailored to your specific needs. Your diet plays a big role in living a healthy life with end stage renal disease (ESRD). For this reason, your dietitian is an important member of your healthcare team.

Your social worker

Your social worker will help you and your family with the emotional side of adjusting to your health condition. He or she will perform a professional assessment of your social/medical condition and will provide emotional support and resources to you and your family. Your social worker will also be able to put you in touch with some support groups to help you in your transition.

Your insurance specialist

Your insurance specialist can help answer any of your insurance concerns. The insurance specialist may even be able to locate programs or other resources that can help you afford your treatment and medications. Call 1-855-5-Dialysis for assistance or fill out the form.

Your care partner

If you decide to do PD, you may feel more comfortable doing your treatments with someone there to assist you, although it is not required. Your care partner can be your spouse, a family member, a friend or a hired care giver. This important person will be an active contributor to your care everyday and will provide physical as well as emotional support.

Your support system

Your support system is made up of your family, friends, coworkers and anyone else that plays a supportive role in your life. These people will be the ones cheering you up, keeping you active, assisting you with anything you need and helping you maintain your quality of life. They will be there when you need to talk about your health condition or when you need help forgetting about it. The best way to assemble a support system is to confide in people you trust about your health condition and ask for their support.

Getting the most from your peritoneal dialysis care team

Your PD care team is made up of many individuals who are devoted to your care and support. These professionals will help make sure you never feel alone and equip you with what you need to achieve the best clinical results and live as active a lifestyle as possible on home dialysis.

Learn more about DaVita's clinical leadership team by reading Why Choose DaVita.

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