With easy-to-use machines and the ability to have a more flexible schedule, patients should be aware they have an option to do hemodialysis at home.
While this option has been available for years, not all patients realize the advantages and ease of home hemodialysis. Because we are committed to comprehensive training and ongoing follow-up visits, one out of every five of our patients requiring hemodialysis select the home option.
Home hemodialysis allows you to dialyze daily, a distinct advantage over traveling to a dialysis center three days a week. The daily treatments are more in line with how your kidneys normally function. Because of the frequency, patients often have better control over their diet and have fewer negative symptoms and outcomes, thus improving their quality of life.
Washington University and Barnes-Jewish Hospital operate one of the region’s largest home hemodialysis programs. Our dedicated multidisciplinary team includes physicians, highly trained nurse coordinators, technicians, social workers and dietitians to assist patients who choose this option.
Whatever option you choose for in-home hemodialysis, you will be asked to have someone on site while you are dialyzing. Both you and your caregiver will be fully trained to use the machine and troubleshoot any problems. You will be given a 24 hour a day/7 day a week contact number to call the renal care team with any questions. Any emergencies will be handled by calling 911.
Benefits of home dialysis
- Your treatment schedule can be more flexible
- You can schedule more than three treatments per week
- The extra treatments clean the blood more like normal kidneys
- More toxins and fluid can be removed from your body
- You may have better blood pressure control, having to take fewer or no blood pressure medications
- You may have a better appetite and fewer diet restrictions
- By removing less fluid with each treatment, you may stop that “washed out” feeling common after dialysis treatments
- Some studies suggest that patients live longer with home dialysis treatments
There are options to how home hemodialysis can be done. The most common treatment schedule is to do hemodialysis five or six days a week for two to three hours each day.
This treatment uses a smaller machine than used in a dialysis center. Or, some people use nocturnal hemodialysis to receive treatments while they sleep at night. Still other people use the same three-times-a-week treatment schedule used at the dialysis center.
You and your care partner will need to learn how to perform the hemodialysis treatment. At the Washington University Kidney Resource Center, training takes about three to four weeks, and is usually provided Monday through Friday for four to five hours each day. You will receive your dialysis treatment during the training sessions.