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March 27, 2008

Home dialysis education has a new home dialysis education section specifically for articles about home dialysis. You can find the new section at The new education section features articles on home dialysis basics, peritoneal dialysis and home hemodialysis. Learn about everything from why peritoneal dialysis patients require more protein to how to best care for your vascular access. is now your one-stop-shop for everything home dialysis!

Visit DaVita’s home dialysis education section today.

March 18, 2008

New and improved

Some of you may have noticed that DaVita’s home dialysis website got a make-over. That’s because DaVita’s home dialysis services are now being housed on the larger website.  The new and improved  has everything you need to learn more about home dialysis. 

Visit for:

Patient stories
Home dialysis locations
Information on treatment options
Answers to frequently asked questions
Educational videos
And more!

 Visit today.

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.


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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.

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February 14, 2008

Temeka Holliam: Mother, full-time employee

Temeka Holliam is a working mom who has been on home hemodialysis for four months. Since she made the switch to HHD, Temeka has seen her energy level increase greatly, giving her energy to spend time with her son and work full time. This is her story.

I have been on home hemodialysis for four months now, and my, how my life has changed. The biggest and most noticeable difference is that I have more (lots) of energy. It is amazing to hear my family, friends and co-workers tell me how much energy they have noticed that I have now. Speaking of co-workers, I am no longer leaving work at 2:00 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays to go to the center. Therefore, my work production has increased, and I am readily available for my staff.

During the first week or so of my starting home hemodialysis, I was able to dose down and finally be taken completely off my high blood pressure medications. I was very excited about that, and to this date, I am still not taking any blood pressure medications. My blood pressure has been at a good rate.

The most important advantage of home hemodialysis for me is that I am able to spend time with my son without being tired. I am able to attend his sports activities, attend PTSA meetings, conferences, etc. His high school years will not pass me by because I am too tired to participate.

I would recommend home hemodialysis for anyone who wants to have an active life. Home hemodialysis is private and personal. And it puts you in control of your health needs.

For more information about home hemodialysis, visit

February 12, 2008

Making the switch

home-sweet-home.jpgMany things in life may seem like too much trouble. It may seem like too much trouble to move closer to your family. It may seem like too much trouble to reconnect with old friends. It may seem like too much trouble to date. It may also seem like too much trouble to switch from in-center to home hemodialysis.

However, often it’s the things that seem like too much trouble that yield the greatest rewards when they are done. How will you ever meet the man or woman of your dreams if you don’t date? And how will you ever experience the freedom and health that you long for if you don’t give home hemodialysis a try?

Transitioning from in-center to home hemodialysis is not hard and can be done in four to eight weeks, depending on how fast you learn–a short period of time to devote in order to experience the many benefits of home dialysis.

If you and your doctor decide that home dialysis is right for you, you will choose a care partner who will go through the training with you and assist you with the home dialysis treatments. You and your care partner will go to a local dialysis center for training. When you have completed your training, your training nurse will go to your house to oversee your first  home dialysis session.

You will also keep the same nephrologist, and you will have monthly in-center visits with your care team. With the new home dialysis equipment on the market, you will probably not need to make any plumbing or electrical modifications to your home. If you do, your health care team will help you arrange for this.

The point is, it’s not hard to switch from in-center to home hemodialysis, and it doesn’t take too long. Stop making excuses, and talk to your doctor about it.

Visit for more information on home hemodialysis.

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

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