- Understanding Chronic Kidney Disease
- Kidney Disease Stages
- What Is a Nephrologist?
- What to Expect with CKD
- Kidney Disease Management
- Managing Medications
- Understanding Acute Kidney Injury
- How Kidneys Work
- Take a FREE CLASS on Kidney Disease
Questions to Ask Your Nephrologist About Home Dialysis Before Making Your Decision
If you’re doing in-center treatments or will be doing dialysis for the first time, you may have heard you can do dialysis at home. It’s true — many people discover that the health benefits and flexibility of home dialysis are right for them. If you’re considering this treatment option, now’s the time to start a conversation with your nephrologist, or kidney doctor. Prepare the right questions to ask your doctor about home dialysis so you can learn about all your options and be confident in your decision. Together, you can find a treatment method that fits both your health needs and your lifestyle.
Questions to Ask About Home Dialysis
Asking lots of questions and gathering information about home dialysis will help you be confident in your decision. When you speak with your kidney doctor, bring a pen and paper to jot down their recommendations. You may wish to bring a care partner to learn alongside you, too. If you’re ready to learn more, kick-start the conversation with these questions to ask your doctor about home dialysis.
Does home dialysis fit my lifestyle?
People who want a flexible schedule, can do treatments in their own space, are interested in managing their own care, and are motivated to learn can be a great fit for home dialysis.
Can I do home dialysis if I have health conditions other than kidney disease?
Many people do home dialysis while managing other health conditions, including diabetes and high blood pressure. Everyone is different, so speak with your doctor about how you can manage kidney disease and any other conditions you may have.
Do I need a care partner?
Some people choose to do home dialysis independently, but most people prefer to do their dialysis treatments with a friend, family member, or other care partner. This person can help you with your treatments, keep you on schedule, provide moral support, or just keep you company.
Is my home a good place to do dialysis?
You can do home dialysis at your house, apartment, or wherever you live. No matter where you do your treatments, you will need a clean, comfortable area, storage for your supplies, and a phone so you can reach out for assistance if you need it.
How will I learn how to do home dialysis?
Everyone who chooses home dialysis will benefit from training through our patient education experience. You will have unlimited access to digital resources and a dedicated home therapy nurse by your side. You’ll learn how to safely perform your own treatments and have the opportunity to practice your new skills before you head home. You don’t need any medical background, either — your training nurse will help you every step of the way.
Will I still see my doctor or care team?
If you do home dialysis, you will still see your care team regularly for checkups to track your progress. Most people on home dialysis visit their doctor about once a month.
What kind of home dialysis options are there?
There are two home dialysis options for you to consider: peritoneal dialysis (PD) or hemodialysis (HD). Your doctor will be able to guide you to a home dialysis option that works best with your health situation.
How long does home dialysis take?
One of the many reasons people choose home dialysis is because they don’t want to sit in the center for long periods of time. At home, you have control of your schedule. Some people choose to do home dialysis more frequently, but with shorter sessions. Other people do continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis (CAPD), which takes place throughout the day and night. Another option is automated peritoneal dialysis (APD), which uses a cycler to perform exchanges while you sleep.
Will I be able to eat a more flexible diet or take fewer medications?
If your doctor prescribes longer or more frequent home dialysis sessions, you may have fewer food restrictions and be able to eat more of what you love. You may also be able to take less medication than you would need with in-center dialysis. Ask your nephrologist for more information.
How can I get the most out of my treatment?
The key to success is to stay consistent. That means visiting your doctor regularly, eating well, taking your medications, and completing your dialysis treatments as prescribed.
What should I do if I need help?
People on home dialysis are never alone. Home dialysis nurses are available by phone any time of day or night.
What if I try home dialysis but decide it isn’t right for me?
The way you choose to treat your kidney disease is up to you. You and your kidney doctor may wish to discuss other home dialysis options if your current treatment isn’t a good fit, but you can go back to in-center dialysis if you choose.
Learn More and Get Your Dialysis Questions Answered
While you’re putting together your list of questions to ask about home dialysis, keep up with your kidney health. Get familiar with kidney care and the ways you can support your health, no matter which type of treatment you choose.
Be Informed. Be Confident in Your Decision.
Home dialysis puts you in the driver’s seat. Get prepared for your journey by asking the right questions about home dialysis, understanding your options, and speaking openly with your kidney doctor. Together, you can discover the dialysis treatment option that works best for you.