When a person is diagnosed with chronic kidney disease (CKD), it means that his/ her kidneys are no longer able to perform their normal function of removing excess fluids and waste products produced by the body every day. Dialysis and in some cases, renal transplant may be recommended by the nephrologist treating the patient. CKD will affect many areas of the life of the patient including lifestyle, diet, work and social life. It not only affects the patient’s quality of life, but has a direct impact on the lives of family members or caregivers of the patient. It may be difficult for the patient and his/her caregiver to come to terms with the need for treatment for the kidney condition, but it is very important that the caregiver and the patient try to find out all about the treatment options available.
Home Dialysis: Making the Decision
Home dialysis is possible for most people, but awareness about this treatment option is not very significant among kidney patients in our country. If you have a family member suffering from kidney disease and has a need for dialysis, you should try speaking to the nephrologist about the home dialysis option. Home dialysis is carried out in the comfort of the home of the patient and allows him/her maximum flexibility and control.
For both the patient and caregiver, it is important to recognize that dialysis treatment will take up many hours a week. However, home dialysis offers flexibility to the patient in contrast to clinical dialysis.
Home dialysis needs the patient to procure a dialysis machine, but this machine is smaller than the one used in dialysis centres. It is safe, reliable and user-friendly. Home dialysis treatments may be performed 3 to 5 times per week for durations of 5 to 8 hours each. The longer dialysis sessions may be scheduled for the nights i.e., the patient can attach himself to the dialyser before going to bed and the dialysis takes place while the patient is asleep. Longer hours of dialysis treatment have proved to improve the patient’s well-being and the benefits include lesser diet restrictions, less medications, better sleep and high energy levels during the day. However, it is important for you as a care-giver to speak with the nephrologist and decide the exact number of hours of dialysis treatment required for the patient depending on his/her condition.
Home Dialysis and Daily Routine
The patient and you can decide how best to fit in the home dialysis treatment into the patient’s routine. Many people who work choose to do overnight dialysis, however it can be done once the patient returns home from work, in the evenings, before going to bed. However, the patient may have to meet the nephrologist 1 to 3 times a month, in the beginning, to check if the dialysis treatment is working well for the patient and his/her health condition is stable. Home dialysis saves the patient travel time to and from the dialysis centre and its economic benefits cannot be ignored.
Longer dialysis treatments require lesser dietary and fluid restrictions for the patient. However, it is best for the care-giver or the patient to stay in touch with the dietician at the kidney care centre to keep him/her informed about your dietary intake.
A patient on home dialysis treatment is able to make time for his/her leisure activities or hobbies while undergoing the dialysis or at other times, if he/she has chosen nocturnal dialysis.
Patients on dialysis treatment should be encouraged by their care-givers to include physical exercise in their routine. This will not only improve their physical condition but also instill a feeling of confidence in them.
Longer hours of dialysis treatment have shown to improve a patient’s quality of sleep.
If the patient plans to travel, the care-giver or the patient should inform the dialysis centre in advance, so they can assist you with finding a dialysis centre at the destination of your choice.
The Effects of Home Dialysis on the Quality of Life of Patients
Home dialysis, thus helps a patient carry on the life he/she was used to pre-dialysis. Home dialysis has been seen to improve a patient’s quality of life with fewer hospitalizations and complications. So, if you are a care-giver and want the best type of treatment for your loved one suffering from kidney failure, home dialysis is your best bet. You will be happy to see the health results and benefits that home dialysis has brought to your loved one, and be proud that you chose the right treatment method for him/her.