After initially becoming popular in the 1960s with the creation of dialyzers for home use, at-home hemodialysis is experiencing a newfound resurgence. Today’s technology and advances allow for easier-to-use equipment, home delivery of supplies and blood work monitoring that's done remotely by phone.
At-Home Hemodialysis (HD) Training
Depending on the type of dialysis machine you will use, the training program lasts for about 4 to 8 weeks. You will continue to get your dialysis treatments while you are going through your training.
Your home-training nurse will review the training course with you and your care partner, plus set up your orientation and training schedule. There are 4 basic steps:
Hemodialysis home setup
To do hemodialysis in your home, you will need:
- Easy-to-reach tap water and a drain (sink or bathtub)
- Easy-to-reach electrical outlets
- Space for storing supplies
- Space for your dialysis equipment
The home-training team will look at the inside of your home to make sure it is safe for dialysis. They will also make sure there is enough room to store your home-dialysis equipment and supplies.
Hemodialysis has special risks as well as benefits. Because of these risks, you may need a care partner to help or be with you during your treatments, depending on your therapy choice.
If there are days when your care partner can’t be with you, you should plan to receive dialysis at your local dialysis center.
Home dialysis training and education
You and your care partner will get the same training. During training, you and your care partner will learn:
- How to use your home hemodialysis and water machines
- About the parts of your dialysis and water machines
- What to check on the machine computer screen during your treatment
- How to dispose of needles and syringes—you will be given a “sharps” container for them
- How to safely discard treatment tubing and dialyzers after each treatment
- How to use and care for your access
- How to handle issues that may occur during treatment
- Who to call if you need help or have questions
After you finish your at-home HD training course, you will be awarded a special certificate. There is a lot to learn, but it’s worth it so that you can successfully dialyze at home.
Once you’ve finished your training at the hemodialysis center, you and your home-training nurse will choose a day and time for your first home treatment.
On that day, your nurse will come to your house to watch—and help—you and your care partner go through all the treatment steps in your own home with your own equipment. That way, he or she can make sure you both feel confident and safe dialyzing on your own.
Equipment and water technicians will also make sure that all your home dialysis equipment is in safe working condition. They will also do regular maintenance checks.