Starting treatment

Your first dialysis treatment

The prospect of starting dialysis treatment can be daunting.

At first, everything will be new. The NephroCare staff will do everything they can to make your treatments as comfortable as possible and you’ll soon feel perfectly at ease in the dialysis centre. You’ll also find yourself getting to know your fellow patients - many often become good friends. In particular, you’ll be in regular contact with the nursing staff, who will become close confidants and who are always there to help and discuss things with you. 

Your NephroCare team knows that openness and mutual respect are important aspects of dialysis care. It’s all about teamwork where patients play just as important a role as their carers.

There are a few things you should consider before your first treatment, such as what to wear and bring to the centre. You will also find a description of a haemodialysis treatment session so you know what to expect.

In your first year on dialysis, you’ll learn about your treatment, how to fit it into your daily life, and how to adapt to the changes in your life.

Dialysis will become part of your daily routine and you may find that in many ways your life is not so different from before.

Preparation at home

The preparation begins at home and there are a few important things you should consider:

Get some energy in advance:

  • It is advisable to eat something before you leave home as dialysis treatments demand quite a lot of energy from your body.
  • A healthy breakfast is especially important on dialysis days. Here are some proposals for a good start to the day:
    • Scrambled egg on toast: two scrambled eggs with bell pepper and bacon bits on two pieces of toast with margarine.
    • Fresh roll with margarine, jam and curd junket mixed with stewed peaches and sliced almonds.
  • You may want to check with your dietician for more details.

What to bring:

  • Clean, comfortable clothing and shoes. Please note that your vascular access must be easily accessible, so no tight sleeves or jewellery should be worn.
  • Something to pass the time, such as a book, magazine, etc.
  • Sunglasses or eye-covers/sleeping mask if you do not tolerate bright light, because the dialysis room is brightly lit for medical reasons.
  • A small snack to consume during treatment.
  • Please keep the valuables you bring along to a minimum.

Remember your NephroCare team will be with you every step of the way. If you have any questions, they will help you. Knowing what to expect can reduce anxiety and prepare you to feel comfortable. 

The exact order of activities may differ between dialysis centres – but generally you will come across the following steps and procedures.

Upon arrival

  • There are a few things you have to do before treatment starts, so please arrive 15 minutes before your scheduled time.
  • Sign in at the reception. You may have to fill out some forms, just as you would at any new medical centre you visit.
  • If you are accompanied by a family member or friend, this person may proceed to the waiting room.
  • On a regular basis, the physician will discuss important aspects of your health and treatment with you.
  • In the changing room you can leave your clothes, footwear and other objects in a locker.
  • Remember to take your locker key with you. You may also want to take something to read with you.
  • Please do not take things you do not need to the treatment room.

Preparations

  • Wait in the waiting room until you are called by the nurse to enter the dialysis room.
  • Please note that your nurse follows a defined schedule, so it may take a few minutes before it is your turn.
  • Upon entering the dialysis room, clean your fistula arm with warm water and soap. Dry it with a disposable towel.
  • There are some short checks to do before the dialysis can start. First you need to measure your body weight.
  • Then the nurse will indicate your designated station and dialysis chair.

During treatment

Make yourself comfortable, the nurse will then measure your:

  • Blood pressure
  • Pulse
  • Body temperature, if you have a central venous catheter
  • Please tell your nurse or physician if you encountered any new physical problems since the last dialysis session.
  • He/she will evaluate your health condition and set the treatment parameters correctly for you.
  • The nurse will assess your fistula status 
  • He/she will then take care of your connection.
  • During your session there will be periodical checs of your blood pressure and pulse and you can tell the nurse how you feel. 
  • You will be administered some medication during treatment
  • If you need any assistance during treatment time, please just let a staff member know who will be happy to help you. 
  • For your entertainment during treatment, you will have a TV set with headphones and a DVD player at your disposal.
  • You will be served a small snack and drink. Or: You may want to eat the small snack that you have brought with you.
  • The nurse will disconnect you upon completion of the set treatment time.

After treatment

  • You may be asked to hold a plaster on the connection site and may need to stay in your chair for a couple of minutes.
  • Before leaving the dialysis room the nurse will check your blood pressure again.
  • Take your time before getting up, as your blood circulation may be weak.
  • Remember to move carefully.
  • You will be weighed once more in order to check how much fluid has been removed from your body.
  • Please wash your hands before leaving the room.
  • You can get changed again in the changing room.
  • Wait for transportation to take you back home.