Understanding Home Dialysis

In Kidney Information by Bob Crabtree

Home dialysis
It’s time to start treatment, and you have questions about everything…
What will my home be like? Will it look or smell like a hospital? How will this affect my family or roommates? Will my home, my safe space, be compromised? Am I even able to do all of this?
The following overview of home dialysis is the first article in a three-part series that will, hopefully, answer questions you may have, and give you some of the information you need to make a decision that is right for you.
When a person is diagnosed with kidney failure, they may need to begin dialysis treatment to help their kidneys filter waste and excess fluids. While traditional in-center dialysis stays a common choice for patients, home dialysis has become an increasingly popular and workable alternative. Home dialysis offers patients the opportunity to receive dialysis treatments in the comfort of their own homes, with more flexibility and control over their treatment plans. If you are considering home dialysis, this article will provide you with an overview of what home dialysis is, the different types of home dialysis available, how to prepare for it, the benefits and challenges of the treatment, and resources for support.

Understanding Home Dialysis: An Introduction
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with kidney disease, home dialysis may be an option to consider for treatment. Before deciding, it’s important to understand what home dialysis is and how it works.

What is Home Dialysis?
Home dialysis is a type of kidney dialysis that can be done in the comfort of your own home. It involves using a machine to filter waste and excess fluid from your blood, just like in-center dialysis would.

How Does Home Dialysis Work?
There are two types of home dialysis: peritoneal dialysis (PD) and home hemodialysis (HHD). PD uses the lining of your abdomen as a filter, while HHD uses a machine like the ones used in dialysis centers. Both methods require training and support from a healthcare team.

Types of Home Dialysis: Which One is Best for You?

Peritoneal Dialysis
Peritoneal dialysis (PD) is a form of home dialysis that uses your peritoneum, the lining of your abdomen, to filter your blood. (“What Is Peritoneal Dialysis (PD)? – Glossary of Nursing Stuff”) During PD, a catheter is inserted into your abdomen and a special fluid is introduced. The fluid then absorbs waste and excess fluid from your blood before being drained out.

Home hemodialysis (HHD) uses a machine to filter your blood, like in-center dialysis. The difference is that you’re able to do it in the comfort of your own home. HHD typically needs more training and support than PD.

Comparing the Two Methods
Choosing between PD and HHD will depend on your specific needs and medical history. PD may be best for those who prefer a more flexible schedule, while HHD may be preferable for those who need more frequent treatments.

Preparing for Home Dialysis: What You Need to Know

Eligibility Requirements
To be eligible for home dialysis, you’ll need to be evaluated by a healthcare team. They’ll assess your medical history, current health status, and home environment to determine if home dialysis is a safe and viable option for you.

Preparing Your Home Environment
Before starting home dialysis, you’ll need to prepare your home environment. This includes ensuring you have a clean and quiet space for the machine, as well as access to electrical outlets and plumbing.

Getting the Right Equipment and Supplies
Your healthcare team will help you decide what equipment and supplies you’ll need for home dialysis. This includes the machine itself, tubing, catheters, and other supplies necessary for the treatment.

The Benefits and Challenges of Home Dialysis

Advantages of Home Dialysis
Home dialysis offers a variety of benefits, including greater flexibility, increased independence, and a better quality of life. Additionally, home dialysis may reduce the risk of infections and other complications associated with in-center dialysis.

Challenges of Home Dialysis
Home dialysis also comes with its own set of challenges, such as the need for greater self-care and responsibility, potential complications with the equipment, and the need for a strong support system.

How to Overcome the Challenges
Overcoming the challenges of home dialysis requires a strong support system, proper training and education, and a willingness to take an active role in your own care. With the right resources and support, home dialysis can be a safe and effective treatment choice for those with kidney disease.

Overcoming Common Concerns about Home Dialysis
Starting home dialysis treatment can be daunting, and many patients have concerns about safety, time, effort, and costs. Here are some common concerns and ways to address them:

Patient Safety
Home dialysis is generally safe and effective. However, it is essential to follow proper protocols and safety guidelines to reduce the risk of complications. Work with your healthcare provider to develop a safety plan that includes proper handwashing, infection prevention, and emergency preparedness.

Time and Effort Required
Home dialysis may require more time and effort than in-center treatment, but it can also offer more flexibility and convenience. With proper training and support, you can learn to manage your treatment on your own schedule. Be patient and persistent and ask for help when needed.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is home dialysis as effective as in-center dialysis?

Yes, home dialysis is just as effective as in-center dialysis and can even offer some additional benefits such as more frequent treatments and longer treatment times.

How much does home dialysis cost?

The cost of home dialysis varies depending on factors such as the type of dialysis, insurance coverage, and necessary equipment and supplies. However, in general, home dialysis may be less expensive than in-center dialysis due to reduced facility costs.

What are some potential complications of home dialysis?

As with any medical treatment, home dialysis can carry certain risks and potential complications. These may include infection, blood clots, and fluid imbalances. It is important to closely monitor your health and work with your healthcare team to minimize these risks.

Can I still travel if I am on home dialysis?

Yes, with proper planning and coordination, home dialysis patients can still travel and keep their treatment schedules. Talk to your healthcare provider about the coordination of traveling with your dialysis equipment and be sure to arrange for backup support in case of emergencies.
For more information about peritoneal dialysis use this link: https://www.kidneysupportgroup.org/what-is-peritoneal-dialysis/