Find a Doctor

You can search our online directory of physicians by specialty, last name, zip code or city/town by clicking here

For Information


At-Home Hemodialysis

In recent years, more compact and simpler hemodialysis machines have made hemodialysis at home increasingly attractive. Though at-home hemodialysis remains much less common than dialysis at a center, many patients today can indeed chose to perform such dialysis at home, conducting the treatment themselves with the help of a trained assistant.  This assistant can be a home health aid or a family member.

At-home hemodialysis patients of course save travel time to and from a dialysis center. They may use the same schedule they would if dialyzing at a dialysis center, or they can dialyze for:

› just a couple hours, five or six times per week,

 or with slower overnight sessions (which are gentler on the heart) several times per week.

The Virtua staff can help individuals set up home hemodialysis, which usually involves leasing a machine from a supplier and arranging for delivery of dialysis supplies monthly. Lourdes staff members can instruct patients on how to perform their own home dialysis treatments.  The family member or friend assisting must also take the training, which usually lasts several weeks.  The patient and helper learn how to:

operate the equipment and use the supplies;

insert the needle in the patient’s vascular access,

monitor blood pressure and pulse,

track the treatments in a record log,

and maintain clean equipment and a tidy environment in the home treatment area.

This form of dialysis is not for everyone. It requires competent and confident team of patient and caregiver, who can be dexterous with the equipment and techniques required.

Patients must undergo testing by their medical team in the first few weeks of home dialysis, and must visit the their nephrologist at the dialysis center periodically thereafter, to assure that they are receiving adequate dialysis and to check on the status of their dialysis access catheter.

Benefits of Home Dialysis

Home dialysis gives the patient more flexibility in his or her dialysis schedule.

The equipment or supplies required are not inexpensive, but neither is care at a dialysis center several times per week. Home dialysis can improve lifestyle by sparing patients a dominating commitment to care at the dialysis center.

With home hemodialysis, patients can vary the length and number of sessions per week, and arrange the timing of their dialysis around other activities.  Under normal circumstances, though, they must dialyze on a regular schedule.

Researchers are exploring whether shorter daily dialysis sessions, or longer sessions performed overnight while the patient sleeps, are easier for the body to tolerate and more effective in removing urinary wastes than the conventional regimen of three longer sessions per week at a dialysis center.  (The Federal Government has not yet established a policy to pay for more than three sessions at a hemodialysis center per week.  As a result, payments from Medicare may not fully cover the costs of at-home hemodialysis.)

Home hemodialysis may result in larger amounts of total dialysis per week and reduce variation in kidney failure symptoms (compared to care at the hemodialysis center) because this approach to dialysis can be more continuous. Partly as a result, home dialysis may help patients better control blood pressure and wastes in the blood, and provide them with greater latitude in diet and fluids.  Many patients who switch to home hemodialysis report improved quality of life.

Social Invitations

Facebook Twitter Youtube

Follow Us on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube for the latest news and events.

Virtua for Life

Discover ways to improve your health with news, resources, assessments and more with this free Virtua for Life email newsletter.

Let’s get there.

Volunteer Information

We invite you to share your time and skills with us as a volunteer.

Read more