If you need hemodialysis, you may not be aware there are alternatives to going to a dialysis center. Choosing to do dialysis at home can be a time-consuming process in the beginning, but once you are thoroughly trained, there are many benefits to home dialysis.
When you need life-saving treatments multiple times per week, the process can be exhausting. Generally, dialysis at a treatment center requires you to make appointments multiple times each week and be connected to the hemodialysis machine for hours. It is understandable that the process can eventually become taxing, both physically and emotionally. As an alternative, you can have the same treatments in your home, where you can be more comfortable. This might include lying in your bed or your favorite chair, reading, or doing other activities that make the time go by faster. Additionally, once you are finished your treatment, you do not need to be concerned with traveling home. Some people feel unwell after treatments, which is especially difficult if you do not have someone to drive you back home.
Scheduling treatments at a dialysis center can be problematic, especially if you continue to work or have family obligations. As long as you stay adherent to your number of treatments each week and the length of each treatment, it may not matter what time of day you have your treatments at home. If you have an emergency or change of plans, you might choose to do your treatment earlier or later in the day to avoid disruptions in your activities. Unfortunately, when you have treatment at a facility, you may not be able to reschedule your treatment, especially since there are likely many other dialysis patients who rely on strict scheduling at the center.
When you have dialysis at home, you can discuss other options with your doctor to make your treatments easier and less time-consuming. Although the standard dialysis treatment requires up to four hours to complete, three to four times each week, you might be able to try a different schedule at home. Some people are able to have their treatments at night while they are asleep. This might require a longer treatment time, but it can be easier to fit into your schedule and less problematic if you are asleep through all or most of the treatment. Another alternative is doing treatments more often throughout the week, but for less time. If you live an active life, you might find it is easier on your body to only do dialysis for a couple of hours, several days per week. Generally, a shorter dialysis time leaves you with fewer side effects after each treatment.
Dialysis is a necessary treatment for people with significantly-reduced kidney function. Fortunately, doing dialysis at home can make treatment for a chronic condition much easier.