In the past, dialysis often posed huge disruptions to a patient’s life and routine, requiring hours at a treatment centre several times a week. Now there are options for patients to manage their treatment on their own schedule and in their own space.

The basics of dialysis

Dialysis treatments use a machine to filter blood when a patient’s kidneys are no longer able to perform this function on their own. The treatment involves placing two needles into a patient’s vein to extract blood, which is then transported through a plastic tube and into a dialysis machine. The machine filters out excess fluid and waste and then sends the blood back to the patient. 

Dialysis works in the same way whether it is performed in a hospital or at home. When it is done at home, training is required in order for the patient and their caregiver to understand all the parts of the process and to know how to respond to any issues that may occur during the treatment.

The three types of home dialysis

Three different types of home dialysis are available to patients. Your physician will help you select the option, or combination of options, that is most appropriate for your condition and lifestyle.

Conventional Dialysis

This form of dialysis is performed three times per week, for a period of a few hours at a time. 

Short Daily Dialysis

This option requires a treatment schedule that includes five to seven sessions per week, with each session lasting about two hours. The shorter but more frequent treatment sessions help mitigate certain side effects of dialysis, such as cramping, fatigue, headaches, and nausea, by removing smaller amounts of fluid at a time. 

Nocturnal Dialysis

This form of treatment occurs overnight while the patient is asleep. The frequency of treatments can vary from every other night to six nights a week, with each session lasting about six to eight hours.

What is required for home dialysis?

Although it offers greater convenience and flexibility, home dialysis should not be seen as a simple and easy treatment option. It requires commitment and discipline from both the patient and their caregiver. Good candidates for at-home dialysis possess the following attributes:

  • A commitment to undergoing the required training and to managing the daily demands of dialysis, including maintaining sanitary conditions. 
  • Good eyesight and steady hands that can handle fine-motor tasks, such as handling the plastic tubing. 
  • Patience and willingness to deal with any issues that arise during the treatment. 
  • An appropriate home environment that can accommodate the necessary equipment and supplies for home dialysis. 

For additional information or if there are other concerns in regards to the health of a loved one, contact Hospice Group of Southern California today.