Kidney Diet Tips

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Home Dialysis Myths

Deciding with your doctor what mode of dialysis best suits your clinical needs and lifestyle can feel daunting. The idea of performing dialysis at home may seem overwhelming and may yield mixed emotions such as relief, confusion, sadness or fear. Despite the large amount of information available, the ins and outs of home dialysis are not as well-known as other forms of dialysis. This may lead to misconceptions, or “myths” regarding home dialysis. Let’s take a look at five popular myths and truths related to home dialysis.

Myth #1:   

“I do not need to follow a kidney diet on home dialysis”.

Truth: The kidney diet may be more liberal on home dialysis since daily peritoneal dialysis (PD) and some nephrologist-prescribed home hemodialysis (HHD) treatment schedules may more closely mimic the function of natural kidneys. However, it is still important to watch your intake of foods high in phosphorus, potassium, fluid and sodium. With monthly lab monitoring, your home dialysis kidney diet will be tailored to meet your specific needs. Your home care team will educate and support you.

Myth #2:

“Once I start home therapy, I will be all on my own.” 

Truth: While home patients have trained care partners to assist with treatments and care at home, your home care team will also be available to support you. Patients typically come into the clinic once or twice a month for routine lab work and to visit with the nephrologist and health care team. They can also visit the facility more often if any questions or concerns arise. During your training, you will be provided with contact numbers and information to reach out for help. Regardless of your concern, a licensed DaVita clinician is available 24/7 via a phone call to discuss any questions or concerns. DaVita home dialysis patients also have access to enroll in the DaVita Care Connect app, which allows them to send secure messages to their care team from their smartphone, connect via telehealth and also connect with other home dialysis patients through virtual support groups.

Myth #3: 

“All home therapies require sticking myself with needles.” 

Truth: There are two methods of home dialysis—one method uses needles during treatment and the other does not. Peritoneal dialysis (PD) does not require you to stick yourself with any needles to perform the treatment. This type of dialysis is done using a catheter inserted into the abdomen and no blood is exchanged during this method. One exception is the needle stick required for lab work. Home hemodialysis (HHD) does require needles but special techniques, such as the buttonhole technique, are used to help make the process less painful.

Myth #4:

“I need a large home to be able to store all of my medical items.”

Truth: Medical supplies are needed for each treatment and the delivery of these supplies can be scheduled to meet your needs. If you do not have a lot of storage space, adjustments can be made to accommodate inventory and timed delivery. Home dialysis can be successful, even in small homes.

Myth #5:

“Frequent dialysis is hard on my body.”

Truth: Home dialysis may actually more closely mimic the functions of the natural kidneys and therefore may be easier on your heart and body. Your nephrologist will develop a treatment plan for you that is designed to extend remaining kidney function and improve your physical health.

Your dialysis team is available to support you. We want you to succeed in the dialysis modality you choose. Ask questions about dialysis myths and other questions and learn about all your options so you can find the treatment that fits you best.

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. Service provider and modality selection are choices made exclusively between the patient and nephrologist.

Lynn Taylor MS, RD, LD

Lynn Taylor MS, RD, LD

Lynn is an avid kayaker. In her free time she loves trying new recipes, biking, gardening and traveling.