Choosing a dialysis treatment is a personal decision that depends on your personal feelings, your lifestyle, and your ability to take care of yourself. There is no single answer – just the right choice for you.
With hemodialysis, you have a choice of treatment options: either traditional, which takes place in a hemodialysis center, also called In-center dialysis, or home hemodialysis. Each has benefits and special requirements or concerns, which you will learn more about in the next pages. Over time, you may decide to change from one treatment option to another, depending on your preferences, your ability to manage self-care, or other health and lifestyle changes.
Your health care team can explain all of this in detail so that you are comfortable with the facts before you make a decision. In this section, you will hear about some of the benefits and important considerations for the different types of dialysis. Click on the links below to learn more about the benefits and concerns of each of the three forms of dialysis.
Peritoneal Dialysis Pop-up Link
There are many benefits to peritoneal dialysis. You are able to do your exchanges at home, at work or while traveling. If you choose to travel your supplies can be shipped to you almost anywhere in the world. There is usually no need for assistance from a partner when doing your exchanges. You have fewer dietary and fluid restrictions with this treatment. Waste products and fluid are being removed continuously and do not have the time to accumulate. Needles or blood outside the body are not involved. The average training time for peritoneal dialysis is 2 weeks.
An important consideration is that you will have an outpatient procedure to place a catheter in your belly, a small, flexible tube through which the dialysis cleansing fluid enters your body and wastes are removed during treatment sessions. You must be well organized, able to keep careful track of the timing of your treatments, track your blood pressure and weight, order dialysis supplies, and care for the catheter site. You usually will have two medical appointments each month, one to have labs drawn, and another clinic visit with the team.
Home Hemodialysis Pop-up Link
Some people prefer hemodialysis, which can be done at home or at a center. With home hemodialysis, you have more control and flexibility over the timing of your treatment, which may help you to keep a more positive attitude and sense of wellbeing. If you dialyze 5-6 times per week, which is allowed at home, you may have fewer symptoms, including improved blood pressure control. You may even be able to reduce the amount of blood pressure medication you take or discontinue it all together. More frequent dialysis may mean that you’ll have fewer limitations with your diet. Some people report that symptoms such as tiredness, nausea and vomiting are less common. Research shows that people who do dialysis at home end up with fewer hospital stays, and live longer. If you have the condition sleep apnea, which causes people to stop breathing for periods of ten seconds or more during the night, and leaves you feeling tired during the day, your condition may improve with night-time, or nocturnal dialysis.
In-center Hemodialysis Pop-up Link
For those with concerns about managing treatment on their own, the best option may be in-center hemodialysis. There is no training required, unless you want to participate in your treatment regimen. The professional health care team inserts the needles for each treatment, sets up the machine, monitors throughout treatment, and gives you any prescribed medications. It can also be a social experience, as you’ll see many of the same folks on a similar schedule. Most facilities have a set 3-day schedule such as Monday, Wednesday, Friday or Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday shifts. Travel may be possible with careful advance planning to arrange for treatment at a center in the location you will be visiting.
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