Kidney Diet Tips

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Gift Ideas for Patients on Dialysis

Woman wrapping a holiday gift

Without a doubt, the COVID-19 pandemic has been a stressful and isolating experience for many people. Dialysis patients, who already face many obstacles, may be experiencing extra challenges this season. As the pandemic continues to worsen, social distancing is still extremely important to keep your friends, families, and communities healthy and safe. So, how can we connect with family and friends without a typical family gathering this holiday? One way is through gifts! Unique or thoughtful gifts are a great way to show loved ones how much we care. Rely on online shopping to avoid crowded stores. You can even have packages delivered directly to a friend or family member’s home. Here are some gift ideas that can be useful for dialysis patients.

Blankets and Apparel

Dialysis centers are often cold. Blankets, either purchased of homemade, are a great option for keeping your loved ones warm during their treatment. A small pillow or neck pillow can also help keep them comfortable sitting in their dialysis chair. Gloves, scarves and socks are also great gift ideas for staying warm.

Oversized jackets or hoodies can keep patients warm while allowing their sleeve to be pulled up to uncover their access site for treatment. Some companies, such as Hemowear, make clothes specifically for dialysis patients.

Entertainment

Dialysis treatments typically last anywhere from three to four hours, so staying entertained is essential. Many dialysis centers have individual televisions at each patient chair. Comfortable headphones that can be plugged into the television allows patients to watch TV without struggling to hear over other noises in the clinic.

Most dialysis centers have free Wi-Fi available to patients. Patients are allowed to bring iPads, Kindles or other e-readers, laptops or smartphones to their treatment. Not tech savvy? Crossword puzzles, Sodoku, word search books or adult coloring books are also great non-tech options to pass time on dialysis.

Subscription Services

Television subscription services such as Netflix or Hulu can provide endless entertainment for loved ones who enjoy shows and movies. Book lovers may enjoy audiobook subscriptions or Kindle Unlimited. Online workout subscription services can help dialysis patients stay physically active in the comfort of their own home. Magazine or board game subscriptions are other great gift ideas.

Kitchen Items

Kidney-friendly recipes and cookbooks can be downloaded for free on DaVita.com. Kitchen utensils, measuring cups, food scales, slow cookers, and pots and pans can help dialysis patients create meals at home. Popcorn is a popular kidney-friendly snack, so a hot air popcorn popper is a fun, unique gift.

Tote Bags or Lunch Boxes 

A personalized tote bag is a great way for patients to store their food items they bring to dialysis. Due to COVID precautions, eating at treatment is currently not advised. Patients may briefly lower their mask to consume prescribed nutrition supplements, but otherwise must wear a mask in the clinic at all times. Insulated lunch bags can help keep snacks or meals cold for eating after their treatment.

Salt-free Herb and Spice Seasoning Blends

Limiting salt or sodium is important for dialysis patients. Salt-free seasoning blends such as Mrs. Dash®, McCormick®, Spiceology and other brands can add a flavor boost to recipes without adding salt. Always check seasoning blends and avoid those that contain potassium chloride. Individual, salt-free seasonings and herbs, such as garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, dill or oregano are also great choices. (For ideas on how to use salt-free seasonings or make your own salt-free medley, visit the Diet & Nutrition section on DaVita.com.)

Hard Candy and Chewing Gum

Many dialysis patients have been advised to limit their fluid intake. Hard candies such as mints, lemon drops, Lifesavers® and Jolly Rancher® can help keep their mouth moist without adding fluid. Chewing gum is also a great option. (Sugar-free versions of these candies/gums may be best for dialysis patients who also have diabetes.)

Medical Items

Staying healthy is essential now more than ever. Certain medical items can help dialysis patients better manage their care at home. Gift ideas include home blood pressure monitors that can help patients track their blood pressure levels while not at treatment. Pill organizers can help manage the, often many, medications dialysis patients have to take. Key-chain pill holders can allow patients to bring medications with them outside of their house. Pill cutters can help make large pills easier to swallow. Daily medication journals or personal health record books can help patients keep track of their medications, blood pressure readings, blood sugar levels and much more. For patients who live alone, a medical alert device can give some peace of mind that help can be reached if/when needed.

Gift Cards

If all else fails, you simply cannot go wrong with a gift card! A gift card to a favorite store will let patients find just the perfect gift for themselves this season.

For more holiday gift ideas read “A Gift from the Heart: Homemade Seasoning Blends“.

Additional Kidney Diet Resources

Visit DaVita.com and explore these diet and nutrition resources:

This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment. Consult your physician and dietitian regarding your specific diagnosis, treatment, diet and health questions.

Natalie Sexton, MS, RDN, CSR, LD

Natalie Sexton, MS, RDN, CSR, LD

Natalie is a registered dietitian and Board Certified Specialist in Renal Nutrition. She has and continues to work in many different healthcare settings including acute care hospitals, LTACHs, nursing homes, private practice, wellness companies, outpatient clinics, research, and writing. She stays busy but loves all of her jobs! When she’s not working, she fills her time with family, friends, pets, gardening, crafting, reading, and learning new hobbies.