What to Expect

If your doctor has approved home hemodialysis, you will receive customized training to ensure you are comfortable with the process and familiar with any potential problems that may occur. You will learn how to set up your machine, mix your solutions and insert one or more needles into your access.

You will also have in-home visits by a member of the renal care team to assist with your transition to doing treatments at home.

You will set aside time for dialysis treatments depending upon the schedule determined by your physician. Each session takes approximately 2 ½ hours.

Even though your treatments are done at home, you continue to see a kidney specialist, dialysis nurse, social worker and dietitian at least once a month to monitor your health. Should you have concerns while at home, our home dialysis team is available by phone at any time.

Diet & nutrition

As a home hemodialysis patient, you will be assigned to a dietitian who will work directly with you and your family to plan meals and guide you on the right food choices. Your dietitian will meet with you at least once a month to go over results from laboratory blood tests and adjust your diet accordingly.

Learn more about diet and your kidneys »

Lifestyle

Peritoneal dialysis requires an outpatient surgical procedure to place a small catheter into your abdomen. Your surgeon will discuss with you the best location to avoid crimping the catheter on a pant or belt line.

Once your catheter is in place, you will have about 2-4 inches of tubing remaining outside of your skin.

Your dialysis can be done intermittently during the day or automatically by a machine at night while you sleep. The dialysate and supplies are completely portable, making it easy to travel with this form of dialysis.

Because this dialysis is done every day, the removal of toxins and fluid is similar to how normal kidneys function. You and/or your care partner will perform all aspects of the treatment. Training for peritoneal dialysis typically takes one week.

We are committed to helping you learn how to do home hemodialysis and to make sure you are comfortable with all of the procedures. While it may seem overwhelming to handle your dialysis on your own, you will be well-trained to handle your dialysis needs and handle any complications that may arise. Training takes place over the course of several weeks, with our team not only showing you how to set up and maintain your machine and manage your dialysis access, but also how to store all of your supplies, either at home, or while traveling.

Learn more about lifestyle »

Travel

If you are traveling for business or going on vacation, talk with your renal care team. The NxStage Dialysis System is the only portable hemodialysis system available. You may be able to have your supplies shipped directly to your destination, but you will have to pack your NxStage machine and take it with you. Notify the dialysis team of your travel dates so we can help get you organized. When possible, you should allow at least 30 to 45 days in advance of travel to ensure you have the right supplies where you need them and understand all of the proper procedures to set up and do your dialysis at your destination.

Work

Many people maintain active lives while on dialysis. If, however, you are not able to continue working due to disability once you start any type of dialysis, you can apply for Social Security Disability Insurance by calling 1-800-772-1213. You also can apply at the local social security office or through the human resources department at your place of employment.

Financial concerns

If you have financial concerns, talk with our social worker. We may be able to find you resources to lower the cost of your supplies and care. If you have Medicare, or are eligible for Medicare, or have group health insurance, we can assist with applying for assistance and submitting the proper forms.

Emotional concerns

It may be difficult for you to adjust to hemodialysis. You and your family may be nervous about using the dialysis machine at home or coping with any potential emergencies. Your feelings are quite normal. Our comprehensive home hemodialysis training program will do much to calm your fears and concerns. You also can contact any member of the dialysis team with any questions you may have.