Your home may need an update
Home HD requires ultra-pure fluids. This means that you may need to make changes to the plumbing in your home to provide the water quality this needs. You will need to speak to your healthcare provider about water requirements and they will organise this for you.
Your role is critical in caregiving
Home haemodialysis can be done several times a week for 3 to 8 hours at a time and typically cannot be done alone. This means a large commitment from you as you may need to be there to assist your loved one every time, depending on the hospitals policy. Consider creating a schedule together, so that both your needs are met.
The use of needles is required when undergoing home HD. The healthcare team, your loved one, and you, will agree on a training plan to determine the best process of how to needle for therapy, and how to manage this in your home.
Settling into a new routine
The person you care for may choose to do their dialysis during the day or throughout the night. There is some flexibility surrounding when they perform their treatments, but it is important that they undergo the entire treatment each time, so learning how to complete all the different steps is helpful. Being there during dialysis can be a good support and can help ensure treatments are carried out safely.
The decision of where in the home the person you care for should undergo HD is important. They will be spending many hours in the same location so it should be comfortable for the both of you. Make sure you choose a location that does not interfere with other daily routines and can offer sufficient comfort throughout the treatments.
It is important that you take notice of the details of what is happening in the life of the person you care for so you can support them in discussions with their doctor. Such as;
- Other symptoms such as cold or flu
- Changes in sleep patterns
- Difference in mood or behaviour
- What limitations you see in their activities
- Any questions that arise from you or the person you care for
For some, it could be helpful to keep a diary of changes to make sure you are capturing important details.
Home haemodialysis requires dry storage space for supplies. You will need to select a location that works for both of you and you’ll need to make sure there is enough supplies for at least a week of treatments. Making a plan for where and how to store these supplies may help you prepare for supporting home HD.
Give yourself a break
Your role in your loved one’s care is very important, so it is essential that you take some time for yourself and continue to do the things you enjoy on your own. This helps relieve stress and can do wonders for your energy levels and mood. If you want to, search for local caregiver support networks, where you might find additional help and advice.