Part of the DaVita Online network
Go to blog home

Archive for Peritoneal dialysis

March 7, 2008

No care partner? No worries.

old-man.jpgSome forms of home dialysis work better with a care partner. However, if you don’t have someone to assist you with your home treatments, you may still be able to do home dialysis. Talk to your doctor about peritoneal dialysis (PD). While a care partner is encouraged for patients doing home hemodialysis, PD patients do not need a care partner. PD is simple and easy to do, and many PD patients do their treatments completely on their own, without anyone’s assistance.

During PD, a solution called dialysate is put into the peritoneal cavity lining the abdomen through a small tube called a catheter. The solution pulls the waste and extra fluid from the blood into the peritoneal cavity where it can be drained out. Fresh dialysate is then put in, and the process is repeated.

Patients who do PD generally do not experience complications during treatments. In fact, because PD does not require your blood to leave your body like with home hemodialysis, there is a much lower risk that any emergency situations will arise during treatment. For this reason, doing PD alone is an option for patients who do not have a care partner.

Visit to learn more about peritoneal dialysis.


Sign up for DaVita’s Home Dialysis Newsletter. And get a pair of comfy spa slippers.

March 3, 2008

Ann David: Wife, mother of two, quilter

Ann David is a peritoneal dialysis (PD) patient who is constantly on the go. Ann enjoys spending time with her husband and two daughters, shopping and doing crafts. She’s thankful that PD has given her the energy to get moving. This is her story.

My name is Ann David, and I am 77 years old. I have been on home peritoneal dialysis for one year. I live with my husband and have two daughters who live in the same subdivision as us.

Deciding whether to do dialysis at home or to do dialysis at a clinic was a tough decision. Reading the material, I was overwhelmed with the information about doing dialysis at home. The amount of supplies, the machine, making sure things are sterile, learning how to run the machine, hooking myself up, it all seemed so complicated. Then, there were the questions. What do you do if there is a power failure or if the machine malfunctions? Where do we store everything? Can we make this work? With the help of my family, we decided to make it a family project and try doing dialysis at home.

The first hurdle I encountered was getting the catheter put in. I had breast cancer 43 years ago. I’ve had two mastectomies and several abdominal surgeries. There was a possibility that I had too much scare tissue for it even to be possible to have the catheter inserted. I went to Columbia, MO, and Dr. Nichols did the procedure without any problems. First hurdle cleared.

Next came the classes and learning how things would work. My daughters and I went to DaVita Lake St. Louis. Lisa Wilson is my nurse. The girls took notes as we learned how to do dialysis manually. We’d talk about the things we learned and review handouts. Lisa had all of us doing all parts of the dialysis in the office, and eventually, we felt better about what we were about to encounter at home.

After doing manual dialysis for a while at home, it didn’t seem that overwhelming. We had a schedule, and things went pretty smoothly. Now it was time to learn how to operate the machine. We went back for more classes and practice sessions. Soon it was time to begin at home.

I’d like to say that the first night was a piece of cake, but it wasn’t. The machine started beeping in the middle of the night. We were scared that we messed up. We called the 24-hour help line, and they walked us through some steps. We found out that we did everything okay. We did manual treatments that next day, and in less than 24 hours, the machine company had a new machine out to us.

You probably think that at this point, I was ready to give up and go to the clinic. That is just the opposite of what happened. This problem was a good thing for us. We were no longer afraid of anything going wrong. We found out how nice and helpful the people were on the 24-hour helpline. We didn’t have to worry about messing up because help was just a phone call away. This experience gave us the confidence and courage that other problems wouldn’t be that hard to solve.

During the winter, there was an ice storm, and we were without power for three days. Once again, we were put to the test. When the power first went off in the middle of the night, I disconnected myself, found an extra blanket, and went back to bed, knowing Lisa or one of the nurses on call would advise me what to do in the morning. The next morning, we still did not have power, so I was told to do manual dialysis. This was a little more complicated since we had to find a way to heat the solution and get enough light to see what we were doing. The family all helped, and we made it through the ice storm.

Enough about the mechanics of home dialysis, how has this affected my life? Before dialysis, I had little energy, had lost my appetite and spent most of my time sitting in my recliner and sleeping in front of the television. I stopped doing most of my crafts, didn’t do much shopping and limited activities outside the house. When we would go to the doctor’s appointments, that was about all I could do that day. It would wear me out. I didn’t even want to stop for lunch outside the house.

Once I started dialysis, all of that slowly changed. Now, I am back doing my crafts. I have energy again, and people can’t believe how much better I look physically. Don’t believe me? Last Monday, I had a doctor’s appointment. After that, my daughters and I went to lunch. Then we went shopping. We went to four stores all located in different areas. Five hours later, we finally came home, and I spent my evening crocheting. On Tuesday, I went to my church’s seniors’ meeting and luncheon. Then, on Wednesday, I spent the day quilting. My family says I’m always on the go now, and they think it is great.

Home dialysis has given me my life back. I am grateful for all the help and support of my family and the great staff at DaVita. I am so glad I didn’t give in to my concerns and gave home dialysis a try. I would recommend it to anyone.

Visit for more information on peritoneal dialysis.

February 25, 2008

PD not just for the young, but young at heart

Don Wagstaff of McKinney, TX, is 80 years old. When he found out his kidneys were failing, he chose to do peritoneal dialysis (PD) because he didn’t want to go to a dialysis center three times a week. He currently does PD for 8 to 10 hours a night using a cycler, and he enjoys the freedom it gives him during his day.

“We go out to lunch. We go out to dinner,” Don’s wife, Sue, said. “He can do the normal activities, vacuum, mow the yard.”

I say, if you ladies can find a man who vacuums and mows the yard, you’ve found a keeper! I also say that if Don can learn to do PD at the age of 80, it’s worth a try at any age!

Read Don’s story.

Visit for more information about home dialysis.

February 21, 2008

You don’t have to get a room. Your favorite recliner will do.

girl-in-recliner.jpgThose of you who are lucky enough to have an extra, unused room in your home can certainly take that room and turn it into your home dialysis haven, if you’d like. However, you don’t have to set aside an entire room in your home to do your home dialysis treatments.

If you choose to do peritoneal dialysis (PD), you can do your exchanges anywhere, as long as the equipment is sterile and the surrounding environment is clean. For example, you could do your exchanges sitting in a chair at your kitchen table or in a chair in front of the television. If you do PD at night using a cycler, you can simply place your cycler on your nightstand. If you choose to do home hemodialysis (HHD), you can do your treatments in your favorite recliner or in your bed.

If your home doesn’t have any extra, unused rooms, don’t worry. You can fit your home dialysis treatments into your current home with no problems.

Visit for more information about home dialysis.

Get your very own pair of DaVita spa slippers. Register for the DaVita Home Dialysis Newsletter.

January 28, 2008

Out of center, out of mind?


Many people see home dialysis as something lonely. They picture themselves sitting in the middle of a barren desert with nothing around except their dialysis machine. While the mentality of “out of center, out of mind” may seem to make sense, the opposite is actually true. Most home dialysis patients have more face time with their doctors than in-center patients. Home dialysis patients have the same support team as in-center patients—doctors, dietitians, social workers and even a nurse on call 24/7. With this health care team behind you, you’ll have someone to answer your questions, provide you with dietary tips and advice, lend an ear when you need to talk and help with any Medicare concerns you may have.

If you’re afraid of losing your current doctor, don’t worry. Home dialysis patients don’t have to get new doctors. Instead, your at-home dialysis provider will work closely with your current doctor to ensure you are getting the care you need.

Your health care team will continue to play an integral role in your treatment during home dialysis by monitoring your lab values, training you on the aspects of home dialysis and checking on you to make sure things are going according to plan. You’ll also need to have monthly in-center check ups.

If you need more company than that, get a cat! Read more about your home dialysis health care team on

Related blog
Home dialysis: You won’t be all alone.

January 27, 2008

Home dialysis: You can afford it.

hand-with-dollar-sign.jpgIf your kidneys have failed, you will need dialysis treatment. The majority of dialysis costs, whether for home or in-center treatment, are paid through medical insurance, either your own insurance or the government-sponsored Medicare program.

In 1972, the Social Security Act was changed to extend Medicare benefits to people of any age with end stage renal disease as long as they meet certain requirements based on work credits. Find out about the requirements for Medicare coverage.

In addition, the improved outcomes that generally accompany home dialysis often allow dialysis patients to return to work or continue working, making it possible for many patients to take advantage of their companies’ medical insurance.

If you are able to continue working, you may want to in order to be covered by your company’s insurance plan. If you have any questions about whether your company’s plan covers home dialysis, talk to your Human Resources department. Someone there will be able to help you find answers to your questions.

Another option for paying for home dialysis is to buy your own medical insurance. The dialysis costs covered by a personal insurance plan vary, depending on the plan you purchase. The only problem with personal insurance plans is that some do not cover treatment for health conditions that you have received treatment for before purchasing the plan. For this reason, you should ask about any restrictions on pre-existing conditions.

A member of your health care team, your social worker, can talk to you more about insurance and help you find the plan or combination of plans that works best for you.

Learn more about home dialysis at

Register for the Home Dialysis Newsletter. And recieve a pair of DaVita spa slippers.

January 16, 2008

Home dialysis: You won’t be all alone.


When you do home dialysis, you’re not alone. You have an entire medical team focused on your care. These health care professionals will educate you about the different at-home treatments so that with your doctor you can determine which form of home dialysis is right for you. They will also be there to train you, make changes to your dialysis treatment when necessary, monitor your health to help you achieve your best possible results and support you every step of the way.

Your home dialysis health care team is made up of your nephrologist, your peritoneal dialysis (PD) or home hemodialysis (HHD) nurse, your home-training nurse, your renal dietitian, your renal social worker, your care partner and your support system.

Each of these professionals specialize in a different area of your care so that you have a comprehensive team for anything you might need. If you need help understanding your health insurance, your renal social worker will be there to answer all your questions and explain things to you. If you need assistance getting your lab values where they need to be, your renal dietitian can work with you to create a diet that keeps you healthy.

You will likely come to know your health care team personally and see them as friends who genuinely care about you.

Learn more about home dialysis at

Register now to recieve your very own pair of DaVita spa slippers, along with DaVita’s monthly Home Dialysis Newsletter.

January 14, 2008

Big news for small spaces

little-house.jpgIf there’s anyone who knows about living in tiny spaces, it’s me. After all, I live in Los Angeles, the only place in the nation (except maybe New York) where living in a studio apartment the size of a walk-in closet is the norm. Who really needs a bedroom, anyway? And on second thought, who really needs a kitchen? Give me a hotplate and a microwave, and I’m set. However, the bad thing about living in a small space is that you have to think long and hard about things like bringing home an extra nightstand or upgrading to four dining chairs instead of two; things some people never have to consider.

But today I have good news! If you’ve considered home dialysis and decided against it because you fear you won’t have room for the dialysis machine in your home, you will be happy to know, home dialysis machines really aren’t that big! I know, I didn’t believe it either until I saw one. I had the mental image of something the size of a refrigerator, but boy, was I wrong.

The newest home dialysis equipment is designed to take up less space and require fewer supplies, which means less required storage space. Some new equipment options are also designed to provide more portability, giving you the chance to travel with your machine for work or fun. In fact, home hemodialysis (HHD) machines and most peritoneal dialysis (PD) cyclers will easily fit on your nightstand!

In addition, while the old home hemodialysis equipment required patients to make plumbing and/or electrical modifications to their homes, the new home hemodialysis machines generally do not require any home modifications. Some even come complete with their very own water purification system that is both compact and easy to use.

Phew! Finally, we studio-dwellers get a break. For more information on home dialysis equipment and treatment, visit

Related blog
Home dialysis: The equipment will fit in your home.

January 4, 2008

Home dialysis: You will know what to do.


If you and your doctor have determined that home dialysis is right for you, you’ll work with a home dialysis provider to participate in a comprehensive training program that is tailored to your specific medical and learning needs. A quality training program will provide the education, tools and support needed to stay healthy and safe while enjoying the many benefits home dialysis can offer.

Every patient and his or her treatment are unique and training needs vary, so home dialysis providers personalize training programs to help you understand how to perform your individual treatments. During your training, you will learn all the skills and procedures needed to regularly perform your treatments independently. The wide range of topics will include how to: use your equipment, create a hygienic environment, manage supplies, handle needles and keep an organized log of your treatments, among other essential tasks. The length of training programs varies, but most people can usually learn how to safely perform their own peritoneal dialysis within a couple of weeks and home hemodialysis treatments within three to five weeks.

During training, you will be encouraged to ask any and all questions you may have. No question is too dumb, and you can never ask too many questions. DaVita’s home training nurses are great with people and truly care about each patient that they train. They spend plenty of time with each patient to make sure that everyone is given the time and attention needed to learn the home dialysis process through and through. The newest home dialysis machines on the market are also extremely user-friendly, making it even easier to learn to do home dialysis.

After the training, some patients are so confident about their skills that they say they know just as much as the nurses and could teach someone else to do home dialysis themselves.

Learn more about home dialysis at

Register for DaVita’s monthly Home Dialysis Newsletter. And recieve your very own pair of DaVita spa slippers.

December 28, 2007

The price is right

It’s the root of all evil.  It can’t buy happiness. It sometimes burns a hole in your pocket. And we all wish it grew on trees. What exactly am I referring to? Money, that’s what. Since money influences many of my decisions on a daily basis, I was surprised to learn that money really isn’t something you should worry about when considering a home treatment for kidney disease.

If you go on home dialysis, you will typically be provided with all the necessary equipment, and most, if not all, training and supply costs are covered by Medicare and most private insurance plans for qualified patients. This leaves little to no out-of-pocket costs.

If you’re afraid that home dialysis would cost too much, talk with your social worker today about benefits offered by Medicare and other insurance providers. If you are currently employed, talk with your human resources department about the benefits offered by your company’s health plan. Chances are you will be surprised to learn how inexpensive home dialysis actually is.

Cost shouldn’t keep you from choosing the dialysis option that is best for your health and lifestyle. Visit for more info about home dialysis.

Related blog
Home dialysis: You can afford it.

Next page » · « Previous page

Join our Home Dialysis eNewsletter
Stay up to date with home dialysis news and educational info. Subscribe now >

Subscribe in a reader