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What to Expect With In-Center Hemodialysis
Getting in the flow of a new routine
First things first: planning ahead
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.
Completing your treatment session
Maximizing benefits, minimizing side effects
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.
- 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.