Home Dialysis vs. In-Center: Why Home Dialysis Is a Better Option for You
What is home dialysis?
With 37 million adults in the United States being affected by kidney disease, it’s no surprise that the healthcare system is experiencing a massive burden. When patients are diagnosed with kidney failure, they become overwhelmed with the number of treatment decisions they need to make—dialysis being one of them.
Dialysis is a typical course of treatment for those affected by kidney failure. Due to the nature of the treatment, it poses a significant challenge for patients who have work or personal situations that may not allow them to visit a medical facility when needed. This is when a home dialysis is an excellent option.
In home dialysis, the caregiver and the patient can conduct the treatment within the comfort of their homes using a dialyzer and needles to access the sites. Depending on the type, they may need training, but not in all cases.
This article will explain how home dialysis works and why some patients choose this option compared to in-center (hospital) dialysis.
Which is better: Home dialysis or In-center dialysis?
When you’re planning your dialysis treatment, there are many factors to consider. Some of them include your daily schedule, travel habits, work/ school obligations, care partner availability, social life, etc. The point is that your treatment should fit in with your schedule and not vice versa.
In in-center dialysis treatment, you benefit from having trained medical professionals in place and getting tests done with ease. But this is not always necessary. Most patients assume that in-center is their only option—but that could not be farther from the truth.
In-center dialysis may not work out because of inflexible timing, long-distance travel, mandatory diet plans, and lack of privacy. On the other hand, home dialysis circumvents these issues. Here, the focus is on the solely on the treatment instead of the factors mentioned above.
Patients are in charge of their treatment and can enjoy a flexible schedule. Those who opt for peritoneal dialysis experience a gentler treatment because it mimics the natural function of the kidneys. They also have lesser dietary and fluid restrictions, and less exposure to sick patients—making home dialysis the much better option.
Types of home dialysis
There are two types of home dialysis: Hemodialysis and Peritoneal dialysis. We’ve detailed the differences between them below:
You can either do it for a short duration each day or for a longer duration three times a week. It’s done by the patient and their treatment partner and requires an extensive training process lasting two months. This would involve learning how to perform self-cannulation, operating the equipment, and recording treatments.
There is less fluid removal with each treatment, which means that the patient feels less washed out over time. You have more energy, better sleep, improved quality of life, less medication, and controlled blood pressure.
The dialysis is done through tiny blood vessels in the abdominal lining called the peritoneum. No needles are used, so the patient does not need to be trained per se. They can do the treatment themselves wherever they need to—at home, work, or even while traveling. The benefits are similar to hemodialysis, with the only difference being the method of delivery.
Many patients tend to switch from one type of dialysis treatment to another when they feel the need to do it.
That’s why it’s important to note that home dialysis can always be considered an option—especially for those with a demanding schedule. In this case, we recommend consulting your nephrologist for the best course of action, depending on your kidney health.
If you’re looking to explore these options, please reach out to our physicians today.