Frequently Asked Questions About Home Dialysis

Q: What kind of dialysis is best?

A: Your DaVita care team and doctor will talk to you about all of your dialysis choices. Together, you and your nephrologist will decide the best treatment for you. You can also call 1-800-244-0582 to speak with a DaVita Home Dialysis specialist.

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Q: Do I keep my relationship with my nephrologist?

A: Yes. Your nephrologist - who knows you and is familiar with your medical needs - will continue to monitor and direct your care. DaVita will work closely with the doctor of your choice. If you do not have a doctor, DaVita Home Dialysis can provide you with a list of doctors who are credentialed at DaVita centers in your area.

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Q: How frequently do I see my nephrologist?

A: As a home dialysis patient, you will be asked to visit a center at least once a month for a review of your progress. Typically you will spend time with the nurse who was responsible for your training, as well as various specialists such as a dietitian and a social worker. In many cases your nephrologist will see you during your center visit. Your nephrologist may also want to see you in his/her office at other times during the month; you should discuss this with your doctor.

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Q: Who is DaVita?

A: DaVita is the largest independent provider of dialysis services in the United States, serving approximately 125,000 patients at more than 1,612 dialysis facilities. DaVita patients consistently receive better clinical outcomes than the national average on dialysis adequacy, anemia management and nutritional management. Our mission is to be the provider of choice to our patients, the partner of choice for their doctors, and the employer of choice for our teammates.

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Q: Am I the right person for at home dialysis?

A: You and your doctor will decide if at-home dialysis is right for you. Together, you'll discuss the quality of life benefits, as well as any medical risks. Naturally, your doctor will use his or her judgment to determine whether you are a good candidate for dialysis at home and guide your decision based on your individual needs.

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Q: What are the quality of life benefits of at-home dialysis?

A: For those who want to work, maintain an active lifestyle or need a flexible schedule, at-home dialysis can provide the freedom you're looking for with the lifesaving treatment you need. Home dialysis makes having a job easier because it can provide you the convenience of scheduling your treatments around your personal needs. It has been reported that quality of life is improved for patients who perform dialysis at home.

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Q: Can anyone do home dialysis?

A: Our experience is that nearly anybody can learn how to do home dialysis. Many patients perform peritoneal dialysis (PD) with no assistance. In general, most home hemodialysis (HHD) patients like to have a dialysis partner who can assist them with their treatments. This can be a spouse, parent, child, professional caregiver or other responsible individual who can be relied upon to provide support. One of the most important considerations for at-home dialysis is a patient who wants to take greater responsibility for their care. While doing dialysis at home does take some time and effort, there can be significant clinical and lifestyle benefits. The flexibility provided by dialyzing on your own schedule is especially valued by patients who:

  • Desire more freedom and control of their lives
  • Want to work
  • Wish to maintain an active lifestyle
  • Want to spend more time with family

You and your doctor will decide if home dialysis is right for you. Together, you'll discuss the quality of life benefits, as well as any medical risks. Naturally, your doctor will use his or her judgment to determine whether you are a good candidate for dialysis at home and guide your decision based on your individual needs. You and your dialysis care partner (if you have one) must be willing to learn how to do dialysis in your home. Normally, the training sessions are conducted while you dialyze at one of the DaVita Home training centers. Most people learn how to do peritoneal dialysis within two weeks. Hemodialysis takes a little longer, typically six to eight weeks. You or your dialysis partner must have adequate manual dexterity and vision to operate the equipment, fill out necessary paperwork, order supplies and perform other basic dialysis-related tasks. You or your dialysis partner must have basic reading and writing skills in order to read training manuals, order supplies, and fill out some simple but important paperwork. You must be willing to take responsibility for following the treatment regimen prescribed for you by your doctor. You or your partner must also take responsibility for filling out paperwork that will enable your doctor and your DaVita home dialysis care team to follow your progress.

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Q: Do I have a backup if I don't feel comfortable dialyzing at home?

A: DaVita Home Dialysis offers in-center self care. If you would feel more comfortable being supervised by a nurse while you're dialyzing, or if your dialysis partner is temporarily unavailable, you have the option of receiving dialysis at a traditional dialysis center at any time.

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Q: What if something happens while I'm dialyzing at home?

A: Even though you're at home, you're never alone. A DaVita Home Dialysis healthcare professional is always just a phone call away. If, however, an emergency complication occurs, you should call 9-1-1 immediately or contact your doctor directly. Otherwise, a healthcare professional will assist you with any complications and will be in contact with your doctor.

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Q: Are there different types of home dialysis?

A: Yes. DaVita Home Dialysis will provide you with education on all of your treatment options so that you, your care partner and your physician can make an informed choice about the treatment that best suits your clinical needs and your lifestyle preferences. There are two types of home dialysis:

  • Home Hemodialysis: performed 3 times per week, typically for about 4 hours per session
  • Peritoneal Dialysis (PD): 4 to 5 exchanges per day (CAPD) or nightly cycler exchanges (CCPD)

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Q: Will I dialyze more frequently at home than I do in-center?

A: As with any form of dialysis, your nephrologist will direct your care and treatment. Home dialysis makes it easier for you and your doctor to decide the frequency and length of treatment that are best for you. DaVita Home Dialysis professionals will work closely with you to ensure that your dialysis is being conducted according to your doctor's orders. Your doctor will prescribe a treatment frequency for you that is designed to optimize:

  • Improvements in quality of life and well-being
  • Diet flexibility
  • Blood pressure control
  • Sleep quality
  • Reduced fatigue and nausea
  • Reduced need for medications
  • Reduced risk of hospitalization

Clinical references are available upon request.
Performing dialysis treatments at home means you'll receive education about your medical condition and be able to assume more responsibility for your care. Your involvement in your health care will empower you to influence the quality of your life each and every day. The DaVita Home Dialysis care team will always be there to provide a helping hand whenever you need it.

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Q: Will my home need changes for home dialysis?

A: Home dialysis requires a good place for you to perform your treatments. If you dialyze at night, you can sleep in your own bed. Peritoneal dialysis does not require a special chair; however, you will need space to store equipment and supplies. For peritoneal dialysis, the machine is small (about the size of a printer) and your fluids come in prepackaged bags. For home hemodialysis, you will need a dialysis machine, a water-purifying machine (called an RO, or reverse osmosis, machine), and possibly a water softener or other water treatment equipment. You will also need a good storage place for the various supplies you will use. If you do home hemodialysis, it is likely that your home will require some plumbing and electrical modifications for the equipment. Peritoneal dialysis does not typically require any home modifications.

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Q: How will I be monitored?

A: You (and your dialysis partner, if any) will be trained to record certain information that you will fax to the home training nurse after each treatment. This will assist your medical professionals in tracking your progress. Your doctor will monitor and direct your care with regular updates on your treatments. You will also meet with a multi-disciplinary team at the DaVita Home Dialysis training center at least once a month to review your progress and make any changes in order to ensure optimal treatment. In addition, each quarter, a DaVita Home Dialysis nurse and biomedical technician will visit your home to provide machine maintenance and to ensure that you have adequate supplies.

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Q: Is it safe for me to do dialysis at home?

A: Yes. You'll get extensive training by DaVita professionals and will always have 24/7 phone support from caring DaVita team members. Your doctor will also monitor you closely to make sure you are getting the right amount of dialysis.

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Q: Who will teach me how to do home dialysis?

A: Our experience is that nearly anyone can learn how to do dialysis at home. Trained DaVita Home Dialysis professionals will provide you the education, tools and support necessary to perform safe, effective, independent home dialysis. A team consisting of nurses, biomedical technicians, dietitians and social workers will be available to answer your questions and provide guidance in setting up your home environment.

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Q: What kind of training is involved?

A: DaVita Home Dialysis provides comprehensive training for patients who choose home dialysis. Training needs will vary from patient to patient, but typically a patient (and his or her dialysis partner, if any) can learn the required skills to successfully perform peritoneal dialysis at home within two weeks, and to perform hemodialysis at home within six to eight weeks. The training is provided on an individualized basis and will be tailored to your type of therapy and learning needs.

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