Three types of hemodialysis can be performed at home. They are:
- Conventional home hemodialysis: You do this three times a week for three to four hours or longer each time. You and your care partner are trained to do dialysis safely and to handle any problems that may come up. Training may take from several weeks to a few months.
- Short daily home hemodialysis: This is usually done five to seven times a week using new machines designed for short daily home treatment. Treatments usually last about two hours each. You and your care partner are trained over several weeks. Because you are doing dialysis more often, less fluid generally needs to be removed each time. This reduces symptoms like headaches, nausea, cramping and feeling “washed out” after treatment.
- Nocturnal home hemodialysis: Long, slow treatments done at night while you sleep. You may do this kind of dialysis six nights a week or every other night. This depends on what your doctor prescribes for you. Treatments usually last about six to eight hours. You and your care partner are trained over several weeks. Some centers monitor your treatments by sending information from your dialysis machine to a staffed location by telephone modem or the Internet. More hours of dialysis each week can result in more waste removal.
It is also possible to combine daily and nocturnal home hemodialysis. Whether you can combine treatments depends on your needs, your medical condition and your machine.
Whatever treatment option you choose, it is important to know if you are getting the right amount of dialysis. Tests should be done regularly to check the amount of dialysis you receive. For more information, speak with your doctor and your dialysis care team.