Dialysis New Patient Checklist

If you’re new to dialysis or are nearing the start of treatment, here are some good points to consider from the ESRD Networks.  I have added my thoughts beside each in parentheses. If there is a posting about the subject, I’ve also added links to those and other sites of interest.

1. Ask your doctor about all the treatment options that are available to you, such as transplant, hemodialysis, peritoneal dialysis (PD) and home dialysis.

2. Take an active role in your care by working with your health care team. When you don’t know something about your disease or your care, ask questions of your health care team. The more you know about your disease, the better you can take care of yourself and participate in your care.

3. Help your family to become very familiar with your disease so that they can be a support for you as you begin this journey. (My family helps me remember to take my binders at meals.)

4. Ask the dietitian to give you a renal diet, and learn what foods are good for you to eat and which you should not eat. (Put lists of good and bad foods on the fridge to remind you.)

5. Ask your nurse or technician to explain how your dialysis machine works and what it means when the alarms sound.

6. Learn how to care for your access because it is your lifeline. (Before each treatment, wash the site and keep it covered between treatments as much as possible.  see www.dialysisarmbands.com for ideas.)

7. Understand your monthly labs. Ask what the numbers mean. (Pay particular attention to the Phosphorus and Potassium levels along with fluid control and dry weight levels.)

8. Find out the name of the Patient Representative in your facility and the Patient Advisory Committee member in your area. Learn what the Patient Advisory Committee does. (If there are none, consider signing up as one.  See ESRDNetworks.org)

9. For your comfort, bring a pillow and a blanket to the facility to use while you are doing dialysis. (A yoga/exercise pad is also helpful to put on the chair under you.  Available at your local sporting goods store.)

10. Stay active. Ask your social worker about vocational rehabilitation and opportunities for volunteering. (I make phone calls to home-bound people for my church while in treatment.  Also, if your center has WiFi, consider getting a tablet computer if you can afford it. Updated: As Debbie commented below, get active on the social networks like MyDavita.com and Twitter. )

© 2012 DevonTexas

Portions reprinted from the http://www.ESRDNetworks.org website.

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About DevonTexas

I am a person with ESRD (End Stage Renal Disease) which means my kidneys don't work. Forty or so years ago that would have been a death sentence but today there is Dialysis which means I can be hooked up to a machine that will clean my blood as the kidneys should. Three days a week, I go to a center and have too very large needles stuck in my arm to remove and replace my blood as it passes through a process where it's cleaned and the fluid is removed, a process taking a little over four hours each time. I want to advance knowledge about dialysis so that other patients can learn from my experience and mistakes. We shouldn't have to reinvent the wheel, eh? There is so much to be learned and experienced about our predicament. There are vast resources available to support us and enrich our lives but many patients don't know about them. There are also many issues that we have to deal with whether we want to or not. So I blog about them. All comments are confidential until I approve them. If you don't want your comment public, let me know and I will respect that. So, feel free to leave a comment. Enjoy.
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One Response to Dialysis New Patient Checklist

  1. Debbie Craig says:

    Good list. I would add following lots of people on social media sites and message boards. Knowledge is power.

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