You may be able to have hemodialysis at home. You don't have to buy a machine. Medicare or your insurance will pay for most or all of your treatment costs at home or in a center.
If you have dialysis at home, you can use one of two schedules:
- Shorter (2 to 3 hours) treatments done at least 5 to 7 days per week
- Longer, nightly treatments done 3 to 6 nights per week while you sleep
You also may be able to do a combination of daily and nighttime treatments.
Because you have treatment more often and it happens more slowly, home hemodialysis has some benefits:
- It helps keep your blood pressure lower. Many people no longer need blood pressure medicines.
- It does a better job of removing waste products.
- It's easier on your heart and access site.
- You may have fewer symptoms from dialysis such as nausea, headaches, cramps, and tiredness.
- You can more easily fit treatments into your schedule.
You can do the treatment yourself, or you can have someone help you. A dialysis nurse can train you and a caregiver on how to do home dialysis. Training can take a few weeks to a few months. Both you and your caregivers must learn to:
- Handle the equipment
- Place the needle into the access site
- Monitor the machine and your blood pressure during treatment
- Keep records
- Clean the machine
- Order supplies, which can be delivered to your home
Home dialysis is not for everyone. You will have a lot to learn and need to be responsible for your care. Some people feel more comfortable having a health care provider handle their treatment. Plus, not all centers offer home dialysis.
Home dialysis may be a good option if you want more independence and are able to learn to treat yourself. Talk with your doctor. Together, you can decide what type of hemodialysis is right for you.