Home dialysis is an option for patients who develop kidney failure and need to start on dialysis. There are mainly two types of home dialysis therapies, home hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis. As opposed to in-center hemodialysis where the patients have to travel to their dialysis centers three times a week, home dialysis is carried out in the comfort of their homes.The choice of home dialysis is offered to a selective group of patients whose physician deems it to be a suitable therapy option for that patient. The patients are evaluated by the dialysis nurses who are trained in both therapy options and they also determine if the home environment is suitable for the procedure to be carried out safely.
Home hemodialysis can now be done with tabletop machines which are supplied by the dialysis company. The patients need up to a month of training during which they also require a partner to be present to learn about safety features during the therapy, which runs about 2-3 hours per day for 5-6 times a week. The results of this therapy are comparable to kidney transplantation.
Peritoneal dialysis is a procedure which requires a tube [ tenchoff catheter] to be inserted into the abdominal cavity. The lining of the abdomen works like a dialysis machine and exchanges fluid and waste. This therapy unlike hemodialysis does not require any needles and appeals to patients. Unlike home hemodialysis a partner is not a required to be present. A machine called the cycler can be connected to the tenchoff catheter at night and automatically does the exchanges for the patient while they sleep and gives them freedom during the day.
Beside the economic advantage of providing the therapy at home, having patients involved more in their health care appears to be an advantage. Our practice offers patients both modalities of home dialysis and has been successfully recruiting patients to the program.