When a person has chronic kidney disease, or CKD, successful treatment often means calling on one or more people to provide help and support to cope with the everyday and longer term tasks and stresses of living with a chronic disease. Care partners can be spouses, partners, neighbors, close friends, or professionals trained to provide medical care.

With some kinds of treatment, such as home hemodialysis, in addition to providing day-to-day emotional and household support, a care partner must be committed to assisting with the actual mechanics of treatments, and be prepared to help solve any problems that come up during home dialysis treatments.

The idea of being a care partner for someone on dialysis can be scary. But no one starts home treatment without a thorough training course, and clinics have 24-hour phone back-up. You are never alone.

Notice that this is about being a care partner, NOT a caregiver. There’s a reason for this. Studies show that home treatment works best when the person on dialysis contributes as much as they are able to their own care.

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