I Need Hemodialysis.

What happens now?

Step 1: Understanding Your Diagnosis

You have been managing your Type I Diabetes on a daily basis, but despite your efforts - you have been diagnosed with Chronic Renal Failure. You are not alone. This is a progressive condition, affecting thousands of Americans living with diabetes. At first, you may not have been aware of any changes in your health. In fact, most people do not have symptoms until their kidneys begin having difficulty filtering toxins from their blood. These changes occur slowly, over time. More recently, you have probably been experiencing the symptoms of built-up waste products in your body such as: weakness, shortness of breath, lethargy, and maybe some confusion. Your provider may have even noticed some abnormal heart rhythms due to your body's inability to rid itself of excess potassium (Pellico, 755)

The good news is HEMODIALYSIS can help.

Step 2: Watch this to learn how dialysis works

Hemodialysis and how it works - IKAN ch6

Step 3: Knowledge is Power

How often will I need dialysis?

Usually, each hemodialysis treatment lasts about four hours and is done three times per week. Your doctor will monitor your needs by conducting regularly scheduled tests.

How common is dialysis?

Dialysis allows individuals to add productive years to their lives. Statistics from 2010 showed approximately 414,000 patients were receiving dialysis in the United States.

How will I know if my dialysis is working?

You will have tests that look at the level of urea in your blood. Usually these tests are done once a month, at the beginning of your session and again at the end. In addition, providers will measure the effectiveness of treatment by comparing the amount of fluid that is cleared of urea during each dialysis session with the amount of fluid that exists in the body (kidney.org).

Step 4: Safety First

  • Monitor for signs of infection such as redness, pus, pain and swelling.
  • Keep your bandages clean and dry.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer before and after caring for your access site.
  • Contact your doctor right away if you notice any changes (cdc.gov)

Step 5: Dietary Adjustments

According to the American Diabetes Association, patients who manage their daily blood sugars while undergoing hemodialysis increase the success of therapy and decrease the rate of infection (diabetes.org).

Your doctor will refer you to a registered dietician who will assist you in adjusting your diet to follow a "Renal Friendly" meal plan which includes food high in protein.

Your meal plan will be based on your personal health history, stage of renal disease, and required fluid restrictions. However, in general, all patients are required to make choices that decrease their intake of: Sodium, Potassium, Phosphorus & Fluids

The National Kidney Foundation is a valuable resource for learning more about why these nutrients need to be closely monitored and how best to adjust for these changes.

You may find this website useful in finding creative recipe ideas which are healthy for type 1 diabetics managing renal disease. Sticking to a healthy eating plan is easier when you have lots of options. Share these recipes with friends and loved ones and encourage one another to participate in meal preparation.

Step 6: Recognizing potential side effects - seek assistance

According to the National Kidney Foundation, You may experience various side effects from dialysis. You can minimize your risk by following your treatment plan. Here are some of the most common side effects, along with advice on how to deal with them.

  • Low blood pressure In order to avoid excess fluid weight gain, you should maintain a healthy fluid level by drinking no more than a quart (32 ounces) daily and avoiding salty foods which increase thirst.

  • Nausea and vomiting If you have nausea and vomiting during a dialysis treatment, tell the nurse who can adjust the machine accordingly. If you're suffering from nausea at home, speak to your healthcare provider about a prescription for anti-nausea medicine.

  • Dry or itchy skin Monitor your phosphorous intake, use soaps that don't dry out skin as much, such as Ivory soap, and plain moisturizing lotions, such as Vaseline.

  • Restless leg syndrome Can be tied to kidney disease and diabetes, so it's important to speak to your healthcare provider for a diagnosis and a prescription which will address the specific cause.

  • Muscle cramping Healthcare providers advise stretching the cramped muscles to release the pain or applying hot packs to the affected area to help increase circulation (Kidney.org).

Hemodialysis Assignment

Mr. J is a 55 year old male who has diabetes mellitus type 1, chronic renal failure, and has been told he will be starting hemodialysis within a week. This site was created as a basic teaching tool to familiarize Mr. J with what to expect as he embarks on this journey.


Patient Information. (2016). Retrieved April 03, 2016, from http://www.cdc.gov/dialysis/patient/index.html

Download Our Free Kidney-Friendly Recipe Collections and Diet Guide. (n.d.). Retrieved April 03, 2016, from https://www.davita.com/cookbook/

Kidney Replacement Therapy. (n.d.). Retrieved April 03, 2016, from http://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/treatment-and-care/transplantation/kidney-replacement-therapy.html

The National Kidney Foundation. (n.d.). Retrieved April 03, 2016, from https://www.kidney.org/

Pellico, L. H. (2013). Focus on adult health: Medical-surgical nursing. Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer Health/Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. pgs 755-759.

*All photos were selected from "free GOOGLE images". Video was embedded from YouTube.com