Home hemodialysis is not a good fit for everyone. You need to learn a lot about it. You need to be willing to be responsible for your own treatment. As long as you and/or your care partner can pass the training and learn to place your needles, you should be able to do home hemodialysis.
You can also do hemodialysis at home where you are the one doing your treatment. At home, you may be better able to fit your treatments into your daily schedule. Studies show that the more you know about your treatment and the more you do on your own, the better you are likely to do on dialysis.
Three types of hemodialysis can be performed at home:
- Conventional Home Hemodialysis: You do this three times a week for three to four hours or longer each time. You and your care partner are trained to do dialysis safely and to handle any problems that may come up. Training may take from several weeks to a few months.
- Short Daily Home Hemodialysis: This is usually done five to seven times a week using new machines designed for short daily home treatment. Treatments usually last about two hours each. You and your care partner are trained over several weeks. Because you are doing dialysis more often, less fluid generally needs to be removed each time. This reduces symptoms like headaches, nausea, cramping and feeling “washed out” after treatment.
- Nocturnal Home Hemodialysis: Long, slow treatments done at night while you sleep. You may do this kind of dialysis six nights a week or every other night. This depends on what your doctor prescribes for you. Treatments usually last about six to eight hours. You and your care partner are trained over several weeks. Some centers monitor your treatments by sending information from your dialysis machine to a staffed location by telephone modem or the Internet. More hours of dialysis each week can result in more waste removal.