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. 


Whether you’re getting ready for dialysis or want to switch to a different type of dialysis, our Treatment Decision Guide can help you decide what treatment options might be best for you.
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The Long and the Short of It: At-Home Schedules

There are 3 basic schedules for at-home hemodialysis.
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Longer treatments or every other day

Using a standard dialysis machine at home, you’ll do treatments 3 times a week—but for longer sessions than you would have in a center. That’s because you are the only person who needs your equipment so you and your nephrologist can create a very customized plan. 

Having treatments every other day is another option your nephrologist may prescribe. The benefit is that you will have less time for waste to build up in your body.

Either of these schedules can help you feel better so you can do more. 
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Shorter, more frequent treatments

If you are prescribed shorter dialysis treatments, then you’ll do them 5 or 6 days a week for 2½ to 3 hours each treatment. Because this schedule is very frequent, it’s gentler on your system, so cramps and physical problems are rare. A special hemodialysis machine is prescribed by your nephrologist if you will be on this treatment schedule.


Longer, slower dialysis treatments are gentler on your body. Healthy kidneys work continuously. So if your dialysis treatments are longer or more frequent, they are much closer to natural kidney function. At-home hemodialysis allows you a more flexible dialysis schedule than in a center.
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Nocturnal (nighttime) at-home hemodialysis

These are long, slow treatments done while you sleep—they usually last 6 to 8 hours. They can be done nightly or every other night, depending on what your nephrologist prescribes.

Mix and match at-home hemodialysis

At-home hemodialysis allows you and your nephrologist to create a schedule that will fit your life, while giving you the best duration and frequency of treatments for your body. Your doctor may decide that combining daytime and nocturnal treatments will give you optimal care.

Setting up your access 

Your access for hemodialysis (HD) is quite literally your lifeline—a way to reach and clean your blood and return it safely to your body. If you are switching from in-center hemodialysis, you will already have an access in place, although your doctor may discuss other access options if you have a catheter. 

If you are starting HD for the first time—or switching from peritoneal dialysis (PD)—you will need a minor surgical procedure to create your new access. 

Planning ahead for your hemodialysis access is key

There are 3 types of access sites for at-home hemodialysis: fistula, graft or catheter. While each has its own benefits, a fistula is considered the best option for most people. Because a fistula takes 2 to 3 months to heal, planning ahead for fistula surgery is critical.