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:
- 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.