Hemodialysis treatment schedules.

Treatment to Fit Your Lifestyle:
Home Hemodialysis Schedules

There are 3 basic schedules for at-home hemodialysis treatment.

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Longer treatments or treatments every other day

Using a standard dialysis machine at home, you’ll do treatments 3 times a week—but for longer sessions than you would have in a dialysis center. That’s because you are the only person who needs your equipment so you and your nephrologist can create a very customized plan. 

Having treatments every other day is another option your nephrologist may prescribe. The benefit is that you will have less time for waste to build up in your body between treatments.

Either of these schedules can help you feel better so you can do more. 
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Shorter, more frequent treatments

If you are prescribed shorter dialysis treatments, then you’ll do them 5 or 6 days a week for 2½ to 3 hours each treatment. Because this schedule is very frequent, it’s gentler on your system, so cramps and physical problems are rare. A special hemodialysis machine is prescribed by your nephrologist if you will be on this treatment schedule.
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Nocturnal (nighttime) at-home hemodialysis treatment

These are long, slow treatments done while you sleep—they usually last 6 to 8 hours. They can be done nightly or every other night, depending on what your nephrologist prescribes.

Mix and match at-home hemodialysis

At-home hemodialysis allows you and your nephrologist to create a schedule that will fit your life, while giving you the best duration and frequency of treatments for your body. Your doctor may decide that combining daytime and nocturnal treatments will give you optimal care.


There are big benefits to home dialysis—including greater flexibility and fewer restrictions, so you can keep the lifestyle you love. Find out if starting or switching to home dialysis treatment is right for you.
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You'll have 24/7 access to on-call home PD nurses by phone. That means you get the benefits of home and the comfort of knowing help is there if you need it.

Setting up your access

Your access for hemodialysis (HD) is quite literally your lifeline—a way to reach and clean your blood and return it safely to your body. If you are switching from in-center hemodialysis, you will already have an access in place, although your doctor may discuss other access options if you have a hemodialysis catheter.
If you are starting HD for the first time—or switching from peritoneal dialysis (PD)—you will need a minor surgical procedure to create your new access. 

Planning ahead for your hemodialysis access is key

There are 3 types of access sites for at-home hemodialysis: fistula, graft or catheter. While each has its own benefits, a fistula is considered the best option for most people. Because a fistula takes 2 to 3 months to heal, planning ahead for fistula surgery is critical. 



Once you and your doctor have decided on an access type, you'll want to schedule your surgery. Azura Vascular Care, an affiliate of Fresenius Kidney Care, offers minimally invasive, outpatient dialysis access surgery.
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5 things I wish I knew about home hemodialysis before I started

  1. You can do it alone—or with a care partner. If you're interested in doing solo home hemodialysis, ask your nurse about training.
  2. You can still enjoy the company of your pets. Just make sure they're not in the room while you're connecting or disconnecting to the machine—and that they don't chew or play with any tubing or machine parts.
  3. You'll save time and money. Not having to go to the center for treatment gives you a lot more flexibility in your schedule—and you'll save on gas or transportation.
  4. You can do dialysis treatment in center if you need a break. If you’re feeling worn down or you’re traveling and need dialysis, you can choose to do treatments in a center for a change. Find a center near you.
  5. There are tricks to storing supplies. Ask your nurse for storage ideas. He or she will know clever ways to fit your supplies into your living space.

What are the side effects of hemodialysis?

What to know about managing hemodialysis side effects

People doing hemodialysis at home or in the center may have some side effects as a result of treatment. Call your nurse anytime you experience any new side effects.
  • Nausea or abdominal cramps—Talk to your home nurse if you're feeling uncomfortable. You may need adjustments to your machine settings, your medications or your prescribed treatment.
  • Fatigue—You may feel tired during the first few months of dialysis treatment. Over time, you'll start to feel better.
  • Low blood pressure—If you feel faint, warm, anxious or sweaty, you may be experiencing low blood pressure during treatment. Talk to your home nurse about how you're feeling and discuss your fluid weight gain between treatments.


Healthy kidneys work continuously. So if your dialysis treatments are longer or more frequent, they are much closer to natural kidney function. Home
hemodialysis gives you the flexibility to treat more frequently than in a center.