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Can You Do Dialysis at Home?

If you’ve been getting treatments in a dialysis center and are wondering if you can do dialysis at home instead, you’re in good company.

In-center dialysis is a good choice for many, but more and more people are managing their end stage renal disease (ESRD) in the comfort of their own home. People who do treatments on their own enjoy a more flexible schedule, travel to the center less, and may have fewer dietary restrictions. If you want to learn more about dialysis and take ownership of your care, you may find you’re well equipped for the responsibility of home dialysis.

Seven Reasons You May Want to Do Dialysis at Home

1. You live a busy and active lifestyle.

Home dialysis can fit into your busy day. With careful scheduling, you can continue to work, attend school, enjoy your hobbies, visit friends, and even travel. Your physician may prescribe shorter, more frequent home dialysis sessions that mimic natural kidney function, which might give you more energy.1

2. You don’t want to travel to the center.

If you live far away from a dialysis center, don’t have reliable or affordable transportation, are concerned about weather issues, or just don’t enjoy traveling to the center multiple times a week, you may wish to consider home treatments.

3. You want flexibility in your lifestyle choices.

If your treatment plan includes more frequent sessions, you may be able to take fewer medications and enjoy a less restrictive diet.1 Talk to your doctor to see if home dialysis might be right for you and find out how you can set up a customized home dialysis schedule that fits your lifestyle.

4. You can do treatments in your own space.

You’ll need a clean, comfortable, well-lit area to do your treatments, as well as room for your supplies. That means “home” dialysis can actually be done almost anywhere; a home dialysis training nurse can help you set up and manage your treatment area. People with pets or kids can do dialysis at home too—just keep them away from the equipment and out of the treatment area during access and exchanges.

5. You have a trusted care partner.

Home dialysis can be done without a partner, but if you choose to work with a reliable friend, family member, or other care partner, you can learn the process together. Your care partner can assist you with your treatments, make sure your sessions are done on schedule, provide moral support, or just keep you company. While most people enjoy having a care partner at their side, home dialysis can be done independently for those who qualify.

6. You want to take control of your own care.

With home dialysis, you’re in the driver’s seat. You’ll be the one administering your treatment, monitoring your progress, and managing your chronic kidney disease. It’s a commitment, but many people find the benefits are well worth it.

7. You are motivated and willing to learn.

Starting home dialysis requires training so you can learn how to do your own dialysis treatments. With a nurse at your side, you’ll practice the procedures, learn what to watch for, and work with your care team until you feel ready to do dialysis on your own.

Talk to Your Kidney Doctor about Home Dialysis

If you’re considering home dialysis, discuss your care plan with your kidney doctor—also known as a nephrologist.

Your doctor may prescribe peritoneal dialysis, which uses the blood vessels in the lining of your abdomen—your peritoneum—to filter waste. Or you may be better suited for hemodialysis to cycle your blood through an artificial kidney outside the body. Both can be options for home treatment.

When determining whether people would be a good fit for either type of home dialysis, doctors consider the person’s willingness and ability to learn the procedures, desire to travel to the center, schedule preferences, access to assistance, home situation and hygiene, and overall health. Many patients discover they’re interested in the opportunity to do dialysis at home and are ready to take ownership of their ESRD treatments.

Take Charge of Your Dialysis

Doing dialysis at home gives you control of your health. With training, support, and a commitment to your health, you can feel confident in your ESRD management. If you think home dialysis might be right for you, speak with your doctor to explore your options.


1Finkelstein, Fredric O., Brigitte Schiller, Rachid Daoui, Todd W. Gehr, Michael A. Kraus, Janice Lea, Yoojin Lee, Brent W. Miller, Marvin Sinsakul, and Bertrand L. Jaber. 2012. “At-Home Short Daily Hemodialysis Improves the Long-Term Health-Related Quality of Life.” Kidney International 82 (5): 561–69.

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