Hemodialysis Teaching Tool

Gretchen Crockett

Main Function of Hemodialysis

Acting like an artificial kidney, it removes waste and extra water from the blood. (Pellico, 756)

How Is Waste Removed?

Waste is removed via diffusion. Diffusion is a process that moves waste from an area of higher concentration to an area of lower concentration. In your case, waste from the blood moves into the artificial kidney also known as a dialyzer. (Pellico, 765)

How Is Water Removed?

Water is removed via osmosis. Osmosis is the process by which water moves from an area of high solute concentration to an area of low solute concentration. (Pellico, 765)

Need a Visual Aid? Here is a video describing the hemodialysis process.

Hemodialysis and how it works - IKAN ch6

Safety Considerations

Look at dialysis site daily for signs of infection. Common signs of infection are:

  • Redness
  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Heat

Contact your doctor if you:

  • See signs of infection
  • Feel a pulsation at site
  • Don't feel a vibration (thrill)
  • Experience numbness of hand or at site

(Pellico, 760)

What Is the Time Commitment?

3-5 hours of treatment, usually three times weekly. However, your doctor will determine the length and frequency.

(Pellico, 756)

Diet Considerations


8-10 oz. daily



6-11 servings


Foods to Avoid

Foods high in potassium and phosphorus.



Your doctor may talk to you about limiting your fluid intake. Fluid intake includes anything from ice cubes and drinks to ice cream and soups.

Try hard candy, gum, or just swishing and spitting water out if you have dry mouth.


Limit Sodium

Sodium can make your body hold onto water. Limit sodium intake. Salt can hide in food, especially processed food. Make sure to read the labels for sodium.


Resources for a Renal Diet


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

American Kidney Fund ǀ Helping people fight kidney disease and live healthier lives. (n.d.). Retrieved April 01, 2016, from http://www.kidneyfund.org/diet

The National Kidney Foundation. (n.d.). Retrieved April 04, 2016, from https://www.kidney.org/diet

March is National Kidney Month. (n.d.). Retrieved April 04, 2016, from https://www.aakp.org/

(2011). Hemodialysis and how it works - IKAN ch6. Retrieved April 01, 2016, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=shFSW8VE3Gs

Image Source

Google Images. (n.d.). Retrieved April 01, 2016, from http://images.google.com/

All images used in this presentation are from Google Images.