Despite the health benefits that more frequent home hemodialysis may provide to those with chronic kidney disease, this form of therapy is not for everyone. Please review this information carefully and discuss it with your doctor as you evaluate your therapy options.
Personal & Care Partner Responsibility
Home hemodialysis (HHD) with NxStage requires a patient and care partner who are committed to being trained on and following the guidelines for proper system operation. If you choose to do more frequent home hemodialysis, you will be responsible for complying with your dialysis prescription, which may require treatments up to six days per week. Each treatment can take about 2.5 to 3 hours or more, including set-up and tear-down.
If you choose to do more frequent home hemodialysis, you and your care partner will need to take on the responsibility for tasks that would normally be taken care of by center staff when receiving treatment in-center. You will need to perform all aspects of the dialysis treatment from start to finish, including setting up the dialysis equipment, needle sticks, responding to and resolving all system alarms, and system tear-down at the end of treatment.
In addition, you must monitor your blood pressure, ensure that proper aseptic technique is followed, and follow all of the training material and instructions given to you by your training nurses. You and your care partner will also be trained on and need to know how to respond to any health emergencies that might happen during treatment at home, including dizziness, nausea, hypotension (low blood pressure), and fluid or blood leaks.
To do more frequent home hemodialysis successfully, you must take care to ensure that you have a clean and safe environment for your treatments. You will also need to set aside space in your home for the needed supplies.
Risks Associated with all Forms of Hemodialysis
All forms of hemodialysis, including treatments performed in-center and at home, involve some risks. These may include high blood pressure, fluid overload, low blood pressure, heart-related issues, vascular access complications, cramps, backache, headache, dizziness, nausea, an "off" taste in the mouth, fatigue, fever, chills, joint pain, itching, seizures, and sinusitis.
All hemodialysis therapies also involve the use of medical devices, which introduce the potential for additional risks, including air entering the bloodstream; damage to red blood cells; inflammatory reactions; blood chemistry imbalances; blood loss due to clotting of the blood tubing set, accidental blood line disconnection, or other leaks; allergic reactions; and excess warming or cooling of the dialysate. In addition, dialysis patients may have other underlying diseases that can, in some cases, make it more difficult for them to manage their hemodialysis treatments.
Risks Associated with More Frequent Home Hemodialysis
Studies suggest that patients performing home hemodialysis may experience slightly fewer complications associated with their treatments, and actually may enjoy improved clinical outcomes. However, there are certain risks unique to treatment in the home environment. Treatments at home are done without the presence of medical personnel and on-site technical support. Patients and their care partners must be trained on what to do and how to get medical or technical help if needed. When vascular access is exposed to more frequent use, infection of the site and other access-related complications may be potential risks.
With more frequent home hemodialysis, you and your care partner would be taking on a great deal of responsibility, but many NxStage patients feel that the benefits of this therapy are worth taking on these responsibilities. Thousands of patients are performing more frequent home hemodialysis with the NxStage System One and enjoying the health benefits, improved quality of life, and additional freedom it can provide.
When performed correctly under the direction and with the support of your medical care team, more frequent home hemodialysis with NxStage may offer tremendous health and quality of life benefits. You should talk to your doctor to better understand the risks involved and how they might apply to you – and to determine if more frequent home hemodialysis is right for you.