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Important questions about preparation

General questions

Complete and thorough documentation is necessary for home dialysis patients so that your nephrologist and the dialysis team can get an idea of your health status and the course of your dialysis treatment. You can find out what you should document in your treatment instructions, which you will receive from your treating physician and dialysis team. Storing all your health records in an easily accessible folder may support conversations with your physicians.

If you want to know more about how and why to document vital signs, click here

Having restricted kidney function usually requires corresponding dietary measures. This may be less necessary for home dialysis patients, depending on the type of therapy received.

The composition of important food components such as fats, proteins, and carbohydrates should be adapted to the changed needs of your body. The same applies to your fluid intake, as you may no longer be able to excrete as much fluid through your kidneys. A nutrition counsellor can discuss with you all the important aspects of a diet that suits you and work out an individual diet and hydration plan for you. Since diet and fluid balance are important elements of your therapy, it is necessary that you regularly check your body weight and the amount of urine you are still excreting. Talk to your dialysis center about this.

More information about food and drink

Contact your dialysis center or the national emergency hotline if you are having an emergency. Competent help is available on call. Ask for important telephone numbers from your unit and post them next to the telephone so that all family members can see them. Over time, you will gain experience and confidence so that you will know when to contact your dialysis center.

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Questions for patients starting peritoneal dialysis (PD)

Once the surrounding skin has healed after catheter implantation, it must be well cared for. Hygiene and cleanliness are essential for avoiding infections. You will learn how to care for your catheter exit site from your dialysis team in a detailed training session. Most patients cover the exit site with a small bandage after care. In this way, nothing can move, and the catheter usually does not interfere with your daily activities.

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Generally, there are some clear signs that peritonitis is occurring. If the dialysis fluid discharge is cloudy or you experience abdominal pain and / or fever, you should call your dialysis center immediately.

Nausea and vomiting may also indicate peritonitis. If the discharge is slower than usual or the ultrafiltration decreases, this could also indicate peritonitis. Your dialysis center will inform you about the possible signs of peritonitis and how to treat it in detail. Your dialysis center is also the first point of contact if you suspect peritonitis.

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There are several signs that indicate a catheter site infection:

  • Redness,
  • Swelling,
  • Tension,
  • Pain, and
  • Pus

are all symptoms of an infected catheter exit site.

The color of the pus can be very different (brown, yellow, white, or green), depending on which pathogen caused the infection. If you suspect an infection of your catheter exit site, please contact your dialysis center immediately.

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Depending on the insurance systems and your clinical status, you will need to come to the dialysis center approximately every four to six weeks.

Questions for patients starting hemodialysis (HD)

A permanent vascular access is also called a graft or fistula. It is a surgical procedure that connects a vein and an artery (usually in the forearm) to create a permanent access, which is punctured with a needle during each HD treatment. This access is necessary to permanently perform hemodialysis. The graft is visible as a small bulge under the skin.

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There are different dialysis needles available for hemodialysis treatment. In order to adapt them to individual conditions such as blood flow, type of insertion and position of your arteriovenous fistula or arteriovenous graft, different lengths, types, and strengths are available.

Find out more about how to prevent complications


Read more about your life with dialysis in the next section