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.
What Is At-Home Hemodialysis?
At-home hemodialysis: partner up
“Hemo” means blood and “dialysis” means filter, so hemodialysis means “blood filter.”
Advantages of at-home hemodialysis
- You have the comfort of being home during treatment—while having access to an on-call nurse over the phone.
- If prescribed by your doctor, you can stay on your machine longer or more frequently, which can help you feel better—you may have more energy and less nausea and cramping.
- Along with your doctor or nurse’s advice, you can choose your time for treatments, so you have more flexibility for work or school or other social activities.
- You don’t need to leave home for treatment, which saves travel time and transportation costs, plus alleviates weather-related travel worries.
- You or your care partner will put in your own needles, which some people prefer.
- You have more freedom with your diet if your doctor prescribes more frequent dialysis treatments.
WAY TO THRIVE
What you need to succeed
- Anywhere from 4 to 8 weeks of training—along with your care partner (family member or friend).
- Your care partner needs to be dependable—to commit to either participating in your home hemodialysis treatments or staying with you to monitor them.
- You or your care partner must be willing to set up for treatments and clean up afterward.
- Before you begin, check with your health insurance provider—or your social worker—so you know whether more frequent at-home hemodialysis treatments will be covered.
- Your water and electrical systems need to be checked in case they need to be upgraded or modified.
- Space that’s set aside in your home to store supplies and equipment.