New Dialysis Patient Information
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When you begin dialysis you will be assigned a permanent time for your three times a week treatments.
These times will either be:
You will be assigned a starting time on the first, second, or third shift. If you are employed we will assign you a time that allows you to maintain your employment. The second shift times are prioritized for those persons who must use public transportation. You may request to be placed on a waiting list to move to a different time or days. If you have an occasional special event that conflicts with your time we will try to accommodate you with another time.
Dialysis Interdisciplinary Team
Your direct care staff will be composed of registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, paramedics, and technicians. All staff have been trained and gone through a period of orientation in order to provide care to dialysis patients. You will be assigned a primary direct care staff person. This staff person is responsible for meeting with you monthly and providing a verbal and written report on your monthly lab values. Your primary will also report on you monthly to the interdisciplinary team.
Other members of the interdisciplinary team include the renal care coordinator, peritoneal dialysis clinician, social worker, and dietitian.
The renal care coordinator will work with you in the management of your access and in providing dialysis education. The peritoneal clinician works with patients who are performing peritoneal dialysis treatments at home.
The social worker will address such issues as functioning in your current living arrangement; family/marital roles and relationships; mental and mood status; learning needs; work/education; death and dying issues; and finances and insurance. The dietitian will address such issues as potassium and phosphorus control; fluid control; sodium control; albumin; and coordinating medical diets.
Communicating with Your Physician
There are a number of ways you can get information, a question, or a request to your physician. A nephrologist may make rounds during your shift. You can tell the staff person putting you on the dialysis machine you would like to talk with the doctor. You can make your request known to the Shift Supervisor who will contact your doctor. You may make an appointment with your nephrologist to be seen in his or her office.
Unless you are going in for a face-to-face visit you will receive a quicker response from your doctor by going through the dialysis unit. A nephrologist is on-call around the clock and can be accessed in an emergency when dialysis is closed. You can reach the on-call nephrologist by calling your doctor's office. Be sure to specify you are a dialysis patient.
Dialysis Daily and Monthly Routine
- You will be weighed before and after each dialysis treatment. You will be asked to wash your hands and arm access before and after each treatment.
- Your blood pressure will be taken before, after, and during your treatments.
- You will have blood drawn during dialysis the first week of the month. The results of these blood tests will be shared with you monthly by the dietitian and the primary care staff individual assigned to you. The full interdisciplinary team meets monthly and discusses each patient. Any abnormal lab values, needs, or problems you have will be reviewed at that meeting. Any changes in your care plan made by the doctor will then be explained to you.
- Once a year the interdisciplinary team and your nephrologist will invite you and your family to a meeting to discuss your renal treatment regimen and set goals for the coming year. This meeting is held privately and is another opportunity to ask questions about your care and progress.