Health

Wednesday 20 August 2014

Home dialysis offers a number of benefits

The choice of home dialysis is something more patients should be offered, believes Dr David Lappin, Consultant Nephrologist at Galway University Hospital.

"Jan is on peritoneal dialysis. The majority of patients, about 87pc, have their dialysis done in hospital three times a week for four hours at a time. About 13pc do it at home, but Jan does it in his own environment.

"The PD procedure is not complex but it requires a high degree of motivation to do properly and requires close attention to hygiene to avoid developing infection.

"Jan has managed this for about 11 months and he has had no issue with infection or treatment failure.

"Dialysis is something we need to offer people a choice about. We do offer people the choice of doing it at home, but a lot of people present very late with kidney failure and end up on dialysis in hospital.

"They get comfortable with the system and don't consider changing because they come into it so late and so fast," he says.

Patients and their families are also concerned about the technical aspect of dealing with the machinery involved, he says, while others fear that they may become isolated by having treatment at home.

"All the major dialysis centres around the country should offer a choice of home dialysis training and should be able to train their own patients," he says.

The benefits are many, says Dr Lappin:

"Home dialysis gives patients a feeling of ownership of their therapy. They tend to have better employment rates and a better quality of life – four hours of hospital dialysis can take about eight hours between transport, waiting around and the treatment itself. "There may also be better survival benefits to some of the home therapies."

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