Preparing for a New Routine on Your Dialysis Journey

This blog post was made by Lyndsay Crowson, MSN, RN on December 14, 2023.
Preparing for a New Routine on Your Dialysis Journey

Switching from learning about home dialysis to treating at home is a big step. Hands-on training with easy-to-use resources will help you to feel confident doing dialysis treatment from the comfort of your home.

Before treating at home, you’ll need to choose an access. With dialysis, your access is your lifeline for treatment. Your doctor will review your choices with you before your access surgery is scheduled. To do dialysis at home, you will need a peritoneal dialysis (PD) catheter or surgically placed hemodialysis dialysis (HD) access site.

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Training for home dialysis takes time and commitment. On average, peritoneal dialysis training takes around 5-10 days, and home hemodialysis training takes 4-6 weeks. Your nurse will teach you and your care partner, if you choose to have one, about PD or home HD. Your nurse will stay with you until you feel confident doing your treatment at home.

Following training, a home visit from your training nurse and care team will ensure a successful start to treatment. Your nurse will help you set up equipment and offer tips on storing supplies. They will also watch you and your care partner perform each of the treatment steps. The goal is to ensure you feel safe treating on your own.

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Remember that you’re never alone in this journey. Your care team is available 24/7 to help you with questions about your health, your equipment, or anything else you may need to help you feel comfortable dialyzing at home.

Getting used to dialysis at home takes time. But new routines get easier and faster with practice. Eventually, setting up for your dialysis treatment might become part of your evening routine, like brushing teeth. Setting up in advance may give you more time for family, work, volunteering—or a pastime you love.

Preventing burnout is also important. Consider taking a break by scheduling a treatment at your center. Dialysis centers offer respite treatments, and your care team can help you schedule an appointment.

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Travel is another benefit to home dialysis. Whether it’s a quick outing or a planned vacation, your supplies can be shipped. Planning in advance with your care team is key so you know what’s possible. It typically takes 2 weeks for US travel and 8 weeks for international travel. As you travel, stay connected with your care team by sharing treatment information or exchanging messages with them using PatientHub.

Being successful on dialysis means making it fit into your life, not the other way around. Establish routines, take advantage of travel and respite care, follow prescribed treatments, and stay connected with your dialysis care team. These are essentials for thriving on home dialysis.


  • Capt Robert E. Shelton Shelton

    Feb 14, 2024 10:57 PM

    Having just started my therapy of home dialysis I am a trial and error. The low drain volume was a major problem for me at first; however, by lowering the machine and relocating the discharge tube from the bathroom sink to the toilet has improved my drainage problem. At present I try a different position each night, and I have found that laying flat of my back with my head elevated seems to get the best results. I use the Baxter cycler with two yellow bags, and a major concern is the UF reading at the conclusion of my therapy. My nurse is asking me to begin manuel draining at the "End of Therapy." The UF has been as high as -947 ml. Any ideas?????
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