10 Tips for Successful At-Home Peritoneal Dialysis
Adjusting to life on dialysis can be challenging and the process of at-home peritoneal dialysis can be difficult at first. At KidneySPA, we offer patients and caregivers training and monthly consultation services to help them get started and guide them toward successful treatments. In addition, we recommend taking these steps to feel better both physically and emotionally during the process.
- Get training, help, and support. After consulting with your doctor, if you choose at-home peritoneal dialysis you’ll need to be trained to do it on your own. If you’re partnering with a caregiver to help you with treatment, train together and make sure they remain with you during the procedures and can handle the commitment. Talk to your care team about how you can make your at-home sessions better and express your concerns to a healthcare provider, other patients, support group, your family, or a counselor.
- Learn and become your own advocate. Learn all aspects of performing at-home dialysis treatments with your medical team and it will eventually become a regular routine you’ll find relatively easy to do. Learning as much as you can about kidney failure, medications, and your body is also key. The more you know, the calmer you will be. Take your blood pressure and weigh yourself so you can be proactive and practice preventive medicine. Work on nutritional health issues with your dietitian and get your family and friends involved.
- Get into a routine. Having a routine schedule is always very helpful. Make sure you stay on the machine for the entire treatment. Missing just a few minutes can make dialysis less effective and seriously impact your health.
- Find the right space in your home. At-home peritoneal dialysis requires a dry storage space for your equipment. Select the best location for both storage and treatment, and make sure you have enough supplies for an emergency and a plan in case of a power outage.
- Stay warm. Some patients might feel cold while they are in session so a nice blanket or a hat can always help.
- Keep track of your symptoms. Flu-like symptoms, tiredness, weakness, and chills, are common for people on dialysis. You might also sleep more or be more forgetful due to anemia which can be treated. Be sure to keep your medical team informed about how you are doing.
- Take advantage of dialysis time. It’s important to make the most of your at-home dialysis sessions and use your dialysis time in a way that benefits you. Catch up on emails, work on your computer, read a book, watch a movie or your favorite shows, listen to music, or do guided meditation to reduce stress. You could also use the time to talk to your family and friends or make those calls you never have time to make.
- Develop good habits. Eat right and drink properly, take your medicines, follow your doctors’ orders, and exercise. In order to feel well and keep your system in balance, it’s important to follow the nutrition plan provided by your dialysis dietitian. Exercise is one of the best ways to reduce stress and increase your strength and endurance, so check with your doctor to find out what type of exercise is safe for you.
- Establish a new normal. Try to get back to work and your routine as soon as you feel you can do it. It will make you feel good. You can return to many of your previous activities while on dialysis which will greatly benefit you in the long run.
- Stay positive and take one day at a time. Adjusting to kidney failure is easier if you take it one day at a time while focusing on the positive, thinking about how much better you feel after your sessions, and accepting that dialysis helps you and allows you to live your life. Some people live as long on dialysis as people without kidney failure. If you just can’t seem to stay positive, talk to your care team and get the help you need through this trying time.