Preparing for Life on Dialysis

Kidney Dialysis Center

When undergoing renal treatment, it is important to go with a game plan whether it’s your first treatment day or your 50th. We’ve come up with ways to help you prepare and maintain your quality of life on dialysis.

Know your facts

Be an A+ student : Stay in the know about your condition. Sign up for a Kidney Aware class and no-cost screening, read informative articles and blogs at and learn from your kidney care team.

Listen and learn : People on dialysis often take quite a few medications and the timing of when they’re taken truly matters. Make a list of your medications, including over-the-counter vitamins and supplements, and talk to your healthcare team about why each one was prescribed, when they should be taken and the vital role they play in your kidney care.

Know your medicine cabinet : Getting familiar with kidney disease medications and adhering to a recommended regimen can play a crucial role in keeping you healthy. See a list of common prescriptions and supplements for people with kidney disease. Medications to avoid include over-the-counter pain pills such as ibuprofen, naproxen and some supplements that can damage kidneys.

Kidney-friendly kitchen re-modeling : A renal dietitian will walk you through your prescribed kidney diet and help you revamp your grocery list. You’ll be eating foods that are both delicious and kidney-friendly in no time.

For meal ideas, check out delicious recipes here

Take Control

Keep your job when you have kidney disease : Staying on the job when you need dialysis is vital to your well-being, both mentally and financially. Talk to your employer about how your job can be tailored to your needs once you begin treatment.

Preparing yourself and your healthcare team : One of the most important things you can do to ease your transition to dialysis is to keep everyone on your healthcare team informed. Your primary care doctor, diabetes doctor, cardiologist—they’ll all need to know when you start dialysis as it may affect your labs, health goals and potential medications they prescribe.

Decisions about dialysis : Discuss your treatment options—from home dialysis to in-center dialysis with your nephrologist so you can work together to find just the right fit.

To know more about treatment options, click here

Stay organized

Organize medicines : Try using a plastic medication organizer and take each medication at the same time every day (unless directed otherwise). Another great tip is to associate taking your medicine with other daily events like watching your favorite TV program or going to bed.

From point A to point B : Map out which centers and medical facilities are close to where you live or work, so you can plan comfortable and convenient transportation.

Stick to it : If you experience side effects, speak with your physician first, before you stop taking any medications. Also, avoid running out of medication by refilling necessary prescriptions on time.

Get Support

Have a kidney care meeting : Talk to loved ones and friends about your need for dialysis and how you are feeling. Getting support early on often can help you feel prepared for dialysis.

Patients to the rescue : Reach out to people who can relate to what you’re going through. Current dialysis patients can help you navigate the ins and outs of dialysis preparation.