Home haemodialysis

A small but growing number of clinics offer home haemodialysis (home HD) in addition to standard HD treatments. The clinic will provide a machine for use in the home and supplies will be delivered to the home once or twice a month. The patient starts learning to do the treatment at the clinic, working with a dialysis nurse. Many people who do home HD also have a helper who trains with them at the clinic. The training period is usually 8-12 weeks.

During training, the patient learns to:

Home HD

  • prepare equipment and supplies;
  • place the needle in the vascular access;
  • administer medication;
  • monitor the machine;
  • check blood pressure and pulse;
  • keep records of the treatments;
  • clean the equipment and the room where dialysis is done;
  • order supplies

The benefits of home haemodialysis:

Home HD lets the patient set the schedule. The patient can choose treatment times to fit other activities, such as going to work or caring for a family member. Often patients give themselves more dialysis which means that they:

  • feel better and have better blood pressure control;
  • have less restriction on diet and fluid;
  • put in their own needles which is good for their access;
  • save time because they do not have to travel to and from the dialysis clinic;
  • Make fewer trips to the outpatient clinic (the patient is usually seen at the hospital every 4-8 weeks).

The potential disadvantages of home haemodialysis:

  • a place is required in the home for a chair and dialysis machine;
  • space is needed to store dialysers, concentrate canisters, disinfectants, syringes, needles, medications, blood tubing and other supplies;
  • burn-out of patients or helper can happen.