At the dialysis center, two needles will be placed in your access by the nurse, a technician, or, as you become comfortable with your own care, yourself. One needle removes the blood from your body through a tube and it goes to the dialysis machine.
The other returns the blood to your body from the dialysis machine. While you may think that a lot of blood is being removed, only a small amount of blood circulates through the machine at a given time. About 95 quarts of blood are circulated through the machine and filtered before your treatment session is complete
Each patient is assigned to a dialysis station with a separate dialysis machine and a reclining chair. You will receive new needles, tubing and a filter, or dialyzer, every time you come in for dialysis. These items are not shared or re-used.
The machine itself is disinfected after each use. All staff members are trained in dialysis procedures to minimize the risk of infection or other problems.
You have the opportunity to watch television on an individual monitor, read, or even sleep while undergoing dialysis. Patients often feel more comfortable if they bring a blanket to each session.
No food is allowed in the treatment area. A waiting area is available for patients, visitors and relatives in each dialysis center. Children may not be left unattended in the waiting area while you undergo dialysis. Visitors are not allowed to remain with you in the dialysis area while you complete your treatment.
In-center treatment schedules
It is very important that you do not skip any of your scheduled in-center dialysis treatments or arrive late for your sessions. In the event that you need alternative options to your treatment schedule due to work or family concerns, our staff will make every effort to accommodate your schedule or work with you to find other options or centers.
Your role in dialysis
There are important things to note if you choose in-center dialysis:
- Skipped or shortened treatments will put your health in danger. You must keep your scheduled appointments at a dialysis center.
- You may be able to change the type of dialysis you use. You may first feel more comfortable having dialysis at a treatment center. If you desire, you may be able to switch to home dialysis. Your renal dialysis team will work directly with you to customize your dialysis plan and train you and a caregiver appropriately no matter which type of dialysis is appropriate for you.
- It is helpful to have an identified caregiver, friend or partner who understands the need for dialysis, knows the symptoms that can cause concern and can help you should there be a problem.
- You must be an involved partner in your care along with your physician and renal team. This includes not only going to every scheduled doctor visit and dialysis session, but also making sure your diet and exercise activities are in line with your prescribed plan.
Patient care team
Patients are usually seen by a doctor or nurse practitioner 2 to 4 times per month to assess progress, look for problems or answer questions related to dialysis.
A renal care physician is on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week if you have concerns either in the dialysis center or at home. Emergency care is available through the Barnes-Jewish Hospital Emergency Department.