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Home Hemodialysis

Home hemodialysis (HHD) is the modality of hemodialysis done in the home. During home hemodialysis, blood flows from the patient’s vascular access through a dialysis machine. The dialysis machine cleanses the blood of extra waste and fluids and sends the clean blood back into the body. Traditional home hemodialysis is very similar to in-center hemodialysis. One of the major benefits of HHD is that treatment schedules can be tailored to a patient’s specific health condition and lifestyle. Traditional HHD treatments are generally performed three times a week for four hours per session, but patients may be prescribed additional treatments by their nephrologist.

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Deciding that HHD is right for you?

When you have an end-stage renal disease (ESRD), you and your nephrologist (kidney doctor) will discuss which treatment options best fit your lifestyle. Ask your doctor about HHD. You may prefer this type of treatment because:

  • You can dialyze in the comfort of your own home
  • You can dialyze for shorter treatment times if you do short daily HHD
  • Treatment is administered with the help of your care partner
  • Dialyzing at home allows you to maintain an active lifestyle, at work, at school, or in your travels
  • With HHD, you may have a more liberal diet than you would on in-center hemodialysis
  • You’ll save time by not traveling to a dialysis center three days a week

Those benefits, as well as personalized care for your unique health and lifestyle needs, are what you’ll find when you begin HHD treatments with a Dialysis care center.

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Training on HHD

Once you and your doctor have determined that HHD is right for you and you have identified a Dialysis program near you, you will work with an HHD nurse who will take you through a comprehensive training program tailored to your specific medical and learning needs. The program will provide the education, tools, and support you need to stay healthy and safe while enjoying the many benefits of HHD.

Your HHD nurse will personalize your training program to suit your needs. During training, you will learn all the skills and procedures required to perform short, frequent treatments independently. The wide range of topics will include how to:

  • Use your equipment
  • Create a hygienic environment
  • Manage supplies
  • Handle needles
  • Keep an organized log of your treatments

The length of training programs varies, but most people usually learn how to perform HHD safely within three to five weeks. The majority of the training for home treatments is done at dialysis centers.

People who choose HHD will have a dialysis care partner to assist them. This can be a spouse, parent, child, professional caregiver, or other responsible people who can be relied upon to provide support. Your care partner will be trained with you.

Most home hemodialysis (HHD) patients require a care partner to assist with the dialysis process. A care partner could be a spouse, family member, friend, neighbor, or professional caregiver. The role of a care partner could include setting up the machine and supplies, inserting the dialysis needles into the patient’s vascular access, recording the patient’s medical information on a chart, and/or disconnecting and cleaning the machine after dialysis treatments. The role of a care partner will vary depending on the needs of the patient. Care partners go through the same training as patients so that they are prepared to assist in any way.

Self-cannulation is a term that refers to the patient inserting his or her dialysis needles. Home hemodialysis (HHD) requires that two needles be inserted into the patient’s vascular access to allow the blood to flow from the body to the machine and back into the body. Patients on HHD are trained to insert their needles or to have their care partners insert the needles. While learning to self-cannulate may seem a little daunting at first, new techniques, such as the buttonhole technique, have made self-cannulation much easier and more comfortable.

Patients using the buttonhole technique insert their needles into the same spot each time they do dialysis. This causes the insertion points to form scar tissue and creates a hole much like the hole in a pierced ear. With this method, patients can use blunt needles instead of sharp needles, which are more comfortable and safer for the patient.

Patients who self-cannulate generally have a better chance of keeping their vascular access healthy and functioning for a long period. In addition, once they learn to self-cannulate, most patients rarely want anyone else to cannulate for them.

Training on HHD

Once you and your doctor have determined that HHD is right for you and you have identified a Dialysis program near you, you will work with an HHD nurse who will take you through a comprehensive training program tailored to your specific medical and learning needs. The program will provide the education, tools, and support you need to stay healthy and safe while enjoying the many benefits of HHD.

Your HHD nurse will personalize your training program to suit your needs. During training, you will learn all the skills and procedures required to perform short, frequent treatments independently. The wide range of topics will include how to:

  • Use your equipment
  • Create a hygienic environment
  • Manage supplies
  • Handle needles
  • Keep an organized log of your treatments

The length of training programs varies, but most people usually learn how to perform HHD safely within three to five weeks. The majority of the training for home treatments is done at dialysis centers.

People who choose HHD will have a dialysis care partner to assist them. This can be a spouse, parent, child, professional caregiver, or other responsible people who can be relied upon to provide support. Your care partner will be trained with you.

Most home hemodialysis (HHD) patients require a care partner to assist with the dialysis process. A care partner could be a spouse, family member, friend, neighbor, or professional caregiver. The role of a care partner could include setting up the machine and supplies, inserting the dialysis needles into the patient’s vascular access, recording the patient’s medical information on a chart, and/or disconnecting and cleaning the machine after dialysis treatments. The role of a care partner will vary depending on the needs of the patient. Care partners go through the same training as patients so that they are prepared to assist in any way.

Self-cannulation is a term that refers to the patient inserting his or her dialysis needles. Home hemodialysis (HHD) requires that two needles be inserted into the patient’s vascular access to allow the blood to flow from the body to the machine and back into the body. Patients on HHD are trained to insert their needles or to have their care partners insert the needles. While learning to self-cannulate may seem a little daunting at first, new techniques, such as the buttonhole technique, have made self-cannulation much easier and more comfortable.

Patients using the buttonhole technique insert their needles into the same spot each time they do dialysis. This causes the insertion points to form scar tissue and creates a hole much like the hole in a pierced ear. With this method, patients can use blunt needles instead of sharp needles, which are more comfortable and safer for the patient.

Patients who self-cannulate generally have a better chance of keeping their vascular access healthy and functioning for a long period. In addition, once they learn to self-cannulate, most patients rarely want anyone else to cannulate for them.

Transitioning from in-center dialysis to HHD

Many people that start in-center hemodialysis transition to home dialysis therapy. You will have more freedom and flexibility but you certainly won’t be alone. You’re only a phone call away from a highly trained home dialysis clinical team that’s dedicated to delivering superior care and making your experience as comfortable as possible.

Transitioning from in-center dialysis to HHD

Many people that start in-center hemodialysis transition to home dialysis therapy. You will have more freedom and flexibility but you certainly won’t be alone. You’re only a phone call away from a highly trained home dialysis clinical team that’s dedicated to delivering superior care and making your experience as comfortable as possible.

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