Tips from a New Home HD Care Partner
Article by Joe L.
Here are some things I have learned as a care partner:
Communicate— I could never get over the fear of hurting someone so I don’t do the sticking part. This worked out well, since the patient knows what feels right.
Organize the treatment area— We set up our room like the room where we trained so it felt very familiar when we were ready to go home. In the room, we:
- Keep a rolling cart stocked with supplies
- Have manuals with error codes nearby
- Keep phone numbers handy for our training nurses
- Use a nearby closet for backup supplies
- Write key dates on a wall calendar (labs, deliveries, clinic visits).
Make the treatment room comfortable— We use a separate room at home for treatment. It’s nice to be able to close the door on nights off. We have TV, snacks, lap desk for the patient, and comfortable chair for me. We keep pets out, but they are in the next room and sleeping most of the time.
It’s possible to work, too— It’s not easy, but both of us work full-time and do sessions 5 nights each week. If we have work to do, we make sure we know this week’s schedule and how to adjust it. We have come to appreciate Wednesdays and Saturdays (our days off) and try to do something fun at least once each week.
It’s okay to be scared at first— It can seem overwhelming the first few days. I found myself thinking “You want us to go home and do all this stuff ourselves?” And, now, 6 months later we are doing exactly that! Give yourself time to learn the process and don’t feel like you have to learn it all the first day.
We’re only human— Some nights we make mistakes, but I think the best thing they taught us during training was the confidence to trouble shoot and handle problems. You are not alone. Our center made a sign for us to post in our home treatment room that says “Keep calm and carry on,” and it truly has become our mantra.