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Tips for Loved Ones and Care Partners

When someone you care about is coping with kidney disease, you may wonder how to provide effective support. Talking about dialysis may be challenging for your loved one, so it can help to have some guidance on steps you can take to understand the conditions and be there in meaningful ways. 

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Learning about kidney disease and treatment options

Knowledge is power—and the more you know, the more you can help your loved one weigh options and make important decisions. Learning more about the basics of kidney disease is a good start. There are also different treatment options to consider, including home dialysis and in-center dialysis. Even if your loved one starts on one kind of dialysis, it’s possible to switch to another option if it’s a better lifestyle fit. To help get more informed, you may also want to take our free class on the basics of CKD—it’s perfect for care partners.

Learn about you role in in-center hemodialysis.

Tips for supporting your loved one on dialysis

Once your loved one and his or her doctor have chosen a treatment for end stage renal disease (ESRD), there are things you can do to support the treatment choice—now and over the long term.




Don’t forget about yourself!

Dialysis is a marathon, not a sprint—and it can be a stressful one. It’s important to pace yourself, take breaks and look after your own health and well-being. Giving up your lifestyle to support your loved one can cause burnout over time. To be the best care partner, it’s important that you stay emotionally and physically healthy, too.


Eating well matters

With kidney disease, eating and drinking can affect your loved one’s health, as well as the way he or she feels. Fortunately, there are plenty of delicious foods and drinks to choose on a dialysis diet—without sacrificing flavor or satisfaction. If you do a lot of the cooking, learn about kidney-friendly recipes that your whole family can enjoy. To help plan meals that work for your household, ask to attend a meeting without your loved one’s dietitian.

Support the dialysis schedule
Missing even a few minutes of dialysis a few times a month can severely impact the person you care for, including life expectancy. Helping your loved one stay on schedule and get full treatments can help your loved one live longer and feel better.