A Place to Feel Better

All dialysis treatments can be safe and effective. What’s really important is exploring all of your options and choosing a treatment type you’re comfortable with. In-center dialysis offers the reassurance of staff-assisted treatment, labs and checkups all in one place—in the company of others going through the same thing. To make an informed decision on what’s right for you, explore all of the dialysis options.
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in center hemodialysis success story

What to Expect with In-Center Hemodialysis

As with anything new, being prepared and understanding what’s involved can help ease your mind. Being well informed will make the process go as smoothly as possible with your treatment team.

Getting in the flow of a new routine

You'll also be establishing a new routine in your life. On 3 days of every week, you’ll be going to a dialysis center for a treatment session, lasting 3 to 5 hours for daytime hemodialysis or around 8 hours for nocturnal (nighttime) hemodialysis. Embrace the time. Make it as relaxing or as productive as you wish. You may even make a new friend there.

First things first: planning ahead

Before treatments can begin, you will need a simple surgical procedure that creates a dialysis access site under your skin. An access site allows blood to flow from your artery through a tube to the dialyzer for filtering and clean blood to flow back to your body through another tube to your vein.

There are 3 types of dialysis access options: fistula, graft or catheter. While each type has its own benefits, speak to your doctor about which is best for you. 

If you know you will need a fistula, you should be aware that it will be approximately 2 to 3 months before it can be used for your dialysis treatment. If you don’t plan ahead, you will need a catheter—a temporary access site—in order to receive treatment.


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Need to find a dialysis center near you or get directions? Use our simple Center Locator to find the right center for you.
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Your access will work best when it's kept healthy. Once you get your access, it's important to make proper care part of your daily routine.
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Getting ready for your hemodialysis treatment

A few minutes before your treatment session, a few simple but important steps are taken to monitor your health and help provide an effective outcome.

starting hemodialysis treatment


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Receiving treatment

In-center hemodialysis

Completing your treatment session

Post dialysis procedures

Maximizing benefits, minimizing side effects

in center hemodialysis timing expectations

When it comes to hemodialysis, timing is everything 

  • It’s important to complete your entire treatment session to get the full benefits. Stopping even 5 minutes early can affect your health. You may not feel the effects of shortened or missed treatments immediately, but not getting enough dialysis allows waste to accumulate in your body over time—which can cause serious health complications.
  • The pump speed at which your blood flows is also important and will require careful adjustment by your treatment team to provide the most effective treatment. While slower pump speeds are generally easier on your body, they also don’t filter as much blood. If the speed is too slow during daytime dialysis—when you have shorter treatments than at night—you may not have enough toxins removed. If the speed is too fast, it may force blood through your veins with too much pressure and damage your veins and access site.

in center hemodialysis considerations

Other considerations

  • You may experience common dialysis-related symptoms such as abdominal cramps, nausea or other side effects. If you’re feeling uncomfortable at any time, speak up immediately and let your care team know. They may need to check your access site, adjust the speed of your pump, your medication or hemodialysis fluids. They may also give you something to help you feel better.
  • You will also notice that the room may seem cool. This is because cool room temperatures help decrease humidity which prevents bacterial growth that can lead to infection. If cool temperatures are uncomfortable for you, you may wish to bring a sweater.
  • Your vital signs and treatment progress will be closely monitored at all times.
  • During the first few days or weeks of treatment, your machine settings will be evaluated on a daily basis and your doctor may make adjustments to ensure that you are receiving the optimal treatment for your particular needs and body type.
  • Once your doctor is satisfied that your treatment settings are optimal, you will be evaluated about every 2 to 4 weeks.
  • You may feel very tired during the first several months of treatment and you will need someone to drive you to and from each of your appointments. You may wish to ask a family member or friend to drive you. Or speak with your social worker about low-cost or free resources for transportation. When you feel well enough, you may be able to drive yourself or take public or private transportation on your own.
hemodialysis treatment facts


During a typical dialysis treatment, only a pint of blood is outside of your body being cleaned and returned at any time. One pint is the same amount of blood you give during a donation.