4 Tips for Preventing Infection on Home Dialysis

Home dialysis may allow you to take greater control of your care, but it also means being more mindful of your own safety during treatment. Take preventive steps to help avoid infection and illness. Regardless of which home dialysis treatment you choose, there are easy and practical ways to help prevent infection.

1. Keep a clean area for treatment.

Be sure to keep the treatment area in your home clean and dry. Did you know that the “pseudomonas organism” (germ) is a water-borne bacteria? It likes to live in your shower and sink area and usually shows up as a pink film on shower walls and sinks. To prevent this organism from living in your bathroom, and help prevent central venous catheter (CVC) and peritoneal dialysis catheter (PDC) infections, treat your bathroom to a weekly cleansing.

Clean your shower head, walls and sink faucet weekly with a bleach solution. Make sure your bathroom is well ventilated. Apply cleaning solution to the shower head, shower walls and faucet spout. For a hand-held shower, soak the shower head in a cup of bleach solution. For fixed shower heads and faucet spouts, spray the area with the bleach solution.

To clean surfaces and non-treatment items, create a 1:100 bleach solution by mixing 1 teaspoon household bleach with 2 cups water. Mix 1 part household bleach and 10 parts water to clean dialysis equipment.

Click here for a printable cleaning guide you can laminate and keep in your bathroom.

Talk to your care team for more information about showering with a CVC.

2. Wash your hands thoroughly.

Seems simple, right? This easy task can go a long way in preventing infection. Scrub your hands and wrists with antibacterial soap and warm water for 30 seconds, then dry with a paper towel before you begin treatments. Follow any other treatment preparation instructions you’ve received from your care team.

3. Take care of your access or catheter.

Take proper care of your access or catheter to significantly reduce your chance of infection. If you are on peritoneal dialysis (PD), always wear your mask, wash your hands thoroughly and clean your catheter before every treatment.

4. Maintain sterile supplies.

Inspect the packaging of all your medical supplies to ensure they are sterile and ready for use. If the package looks torn or wet, do not use the supplies. Remember to only open medical supplies when you are ready to use them.

If you experience any early signs of infection, such as fever or flu-like symptoms, abdominal pain, cloudiness in drained fluids, or redness or drainage around the access site, contact your doctor immediately. If you experience urgent medical conditions, call 9-1-1.

Use these tips to help prevent infection and keep yourself as healthy as possible during your dialysis treatment. For more home dialysis information, sign up for our e-newsletters.

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