There are many effective treatment options and plans for people with Kidney Disease. Truthfully, there is no one option that is going to be best for everyone. Before you choose the therapy option that is right for you, you and your ARA physician and healthcare team will need to explore together which one is best suitable for you. Also, before you choose which particular therapy is right for you, it might be beneficial to talk with people that have had the similar experience.
There are three options for you when you’ve reached the stage of needing treatment. They are Hemodialysis, Peritoneal Dialysis, Home Hemodialysis, and Kidney Transplantation. And no matter which of the options you choose, you will begin to feel better. As you get a chance to speak to others, that are either in treatment or transplanted, you might be amazed at how most people have fit dialysis into their lives.
Now that you are in the process of choosing the right option for you, just remember that over the course of your life you may end up using more than one therapy. Your health or lifestyle may change and this might affect a treatment change, as well. You may choose that a Kidney Transplant will be the best route, but you may have to start on a dialysis route first. As you pursue the process of getting actively placed on the Kidney Transplant list or have a living donor offer to be evaluated, you will need to be treated. Some patients do not choose to pursue a Kidney Transplant until later or at all.
Hemodialysis (HD) is where your blood is filtered outside your body. HD is performed at either an in-center dialysis unit or at home requiring a support care person. In-center hemodialysis is usually on a three times per week treatment schedule for approximately four hours. You will usually have a treatment time set at a schedule either in the am, afternoon or evening. Home hemodialysis will be performed five-six days a week for a shorter interval, and up to your schedule.
Peritoneal dialysis (PD) is a process where your blood is cleaned inside your body. PD is performed at home by you. This therapy is expected to be performed every day. You may have your family member or friend assist you in this process, but it’s not required. There are two types of PD; one treatment is a manual process, usually performed during the day but is very flexible, meeting your daily work or home hours, and the other is an automated, slower process that is delivered while you sleep.
Another type of hemodialysis is Nocturnal Dialysis. This is where the patient still reports to a facility that offers it, three times a week, but during the night where the treatment is performed at a slower rate, lasting six to eight hours. This is an option that is appealing to patients that have other daily obligations.
There may be a medical reason, though, that one of the therapies is better for you than the other one. And, as stated before, it’s not uncommon to start one therapy and later choose, for multiple reasons, to transfer to the other option.
Home Hemodialysis combines the use of a dialysis machine with the convenience of being at home for improved quality of life and the ability to control your own schedule.
Home Hemodialysis requires an average of 3 to 6 treatments per week for 3 to 5 hours each, which varies according to the patient’s individual needs. These treatments require specialized training for the patient and a caregiver or loved one, who becomes the patients’ “care partner.” In addition, strict considerations for the home environment must be met such as space for supply storage, adequate wiring and a dependable water source.
Determining which option of treatment will best fit your needs is an important decision. Take time to research and discuss the options with your family, your ARA nephrologist and healthcare team. You will need to consider your medical and physical condition, your lifestyle, the distance from your home to an in-center unit, the physical space for supplies for home therapy, and whether you will have a support person to assist. Remember, it’s your life, your body, your decision.