Dialysis and the Rest of Your Life – Family, Work, Travel & More

At the beginning of dialysis, patients and their families go through a period of adjustment as they learn to adapt to all the changes. This adjustment often takes months and many aspects of kidney failure and its treatment can be frustrating and stressful. As you begin to feel better and get into the swing of your new routine, you’ll be ready to regain as much as of your lifestyle and regular activities as your health allows.

A good way to start is by talking with your Satellite social worker. He or she has experience working with a range of patients, helping them maintain work schedules, actively participate in family life, and enjoy their hobbies and interests to the best of their abilities.

Work. Many dialysis patients want or need to continue working. Because of the greater schedule flexibility that comes with home dialysis treatments, it is somewhat easier for these patients to continue with formal employment. Home Dialysis Work Tips >

However, there are several ways that Satellite Dialysis Centers make it easier for patients to return to work. These include scheduling nocturnal center treatments (while you sleep) and very early morning treatments that allow you to dialyze before work hours. Your Satellite social worker can discuss all your options.

Traveling. With advance planning, both center and home dialysis patients can travel for business or pleasure without worry. Your social worker and dialysis nurse can make sure you have the information, medications and supplies you’ll need to maintain your dialysis treatments while on the road.

Family Education and Support. Beginning dialysis is very hard on patients, but it also is very difficult for the people who love them. Like patients, they are learning new things and coping with new emotions. Your Satellite social worker can provide special information and resources on chronic kidney disease (CKD) and dialysis for those who want to support you and help you through your transition to dialysis. In addition, there are a number of excellent online communities that provide education and support to family and friends. National Kidney Foundation’s Family Focus webpage.

Planning for an Emergency. Satellite strongly recommends that each patient have an emergency plan that meets their health needs. Your Satellite social worker can help you with all the details. Some specific things you can do immediately are:

  • Wear a medical emblem. This can be a necklace or bracelet (but not on the same side as your dialysis access). Your emblem should be custom engraved with your primary medical condition(s). Check with your Satellite social worker for further information and/or look at products provided by Medic-Alert Foundation, Body Guard or Monroe Specialty Company.
  • Know your medications. Be sure to know the names, strengths and dosing instructions for all your medications. Keep a written copy of your prescriptions with your emergency supplies. Learn which medications are absolutely necessary for survival. At all times, maintain a two-week supply of all your medications.
  • Keep Satellite Dialysis Hotline Handy. Satellite maintains an emergency number (1.800.367.8292) that can be used if you cannot reach your center in the event of a disaster. Information will be provided to direct you to emergency dialysis services.
  • Learn more. Kidney Community Emergency Response Coalition hosts a website with information you need to plan ahead for emergencies.

For more information, contact Info@SatelliteHealth.com.