If you have kidney disease, then you may need to start on dialysis as soon as possible to ensure the health of your kidneys. The good news is that you can often purchase hemodialysis machines for at home use. The machine is not the only thing you will need to buy. Keep reading to learn about a few supplies to make your dialysis as easy as possible.
You likely have the option of choosing between daily hemodialysis or three weekly sessions that last about four hours per treatment. Both types of hemodialysis will require you to sit still during the treatment. While you can sit in a regular recliner, many people choose to purchase special dialysis recliners. The recliners have several features designed for your treatment. They come equipped with armrests that allow for easy access to ports and catheters. The rests are also designed to support your arms during treatment. Some chairs have a built-in sliding tray that allows your arm to stay in position while you read.
Both manual and electric recliners have mechanisms that allow individuals to be placed in shock or Trendelenburg position. The position is a reclined one where you lie flat with your legs higher than your head. This allows your heart to more easily pump blood to your brain to alleviate a feeling of dizziness. Since blood is moving out of the body, it is common for the heart rate to drop and for you to feel faint. The supine positioning integrated into dialysis chairs can prevent fainting spells and shock issues.
Chairs are often made for low entry for easy access and also feature padding for comfort. Recliners on casters are an option too if you need or want to move it around your home. Caster recliners typically come equipped with brakes or caster locking mechanisms to keep the chair from moving during treatment.
IV poles are an optional accessory that can be added to the recliners, so consider this if you want to keep dialysis tubing off the floor.
Hemodialysis machines are meant to work a lot like your kidneys. They allow red blood cells, white blood cells, proteins, and other large compounds to stay in the blood as waste products, like urea, are removed. Your kidneys have special filtration centers called nephrons that allow for the filtration of the blood and the movement of waste to the ureters.
A filter is also needed within the hemodialysis machine, and like the nephrons, the openings in the filter must be extremely small. The filter is called a dialyzer membrane. These membranes are reusable in most machines, but they do require some cleaning and preperation. Also, the membrane is tested to makes sure that it is still useable and filtering out the waste products out of your blood.
The dialysis machine can be set to run a test to make sure that the dialyzer is working correctly. This is called a TCV test, and your technician can show you how to run the test before every dialysis session.
There really is no set number of times that the membrane can be reused, so it is wise to purchase one or two extras that can be slipped into the machine whenever one is needed.
Keep in mind that special cleaners must be used to clean the dialyzers, and some people find that it is easier and safer to ask the dialysis center or professional caring for your machine to do the cleaning for you. If you decide on this practice, then your second dialyzer can be used as your backup as the other membrane is being cleaned.
If you are looking at home dialysis machines, then you will need a few supplies to ensure the easy use of your device. Speak with a medical equipment supplier to learn about some of the other things you may need.