Most patients with chronic kidney disease who undergo hemodialysis put up with a grueling treatment regimen that involves going into a clinic several days a week and sitting through a three-to-four hour dialysis session at each visit.
Home hemodialysis is more accessible than ever, though, with the advent of newer systems that are easier for patients to learn, use, and maintain, according to a review appearing in an upcoming issue of the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology. The authors offer suggestions for how to overcome barriers and establish a successful home hemodialysis program.
"There is virtually no other disease that requires patients to make such considerable changes in their lifestyle as a diagnosis of end-stage renal disease and the need for dialysis therapy does," said Rajnish Mehrotra, MD (University of Washington, Seattle). "To ease the challenge associated with such a diagnosis, offering patients choice allows them to select a dialysis therapy that best fits into their lifestyle and their expectations."
Home hemodialysis is one type of dialysis therapy, but it is available to less than 2% of dialysis patients in the country. Home hemodialysis requires extensive patient training, nursing education, and infrastructure support to maintain a successful program. Also, reluctance to start such programs is widespread because many physicians do not have experience with home hemodialysis.