Carolyn Latham, Vice President, Clinical Leadership, Satellite Healthcare and Past National President of ANNA
Today, someone can be on dialysis for many years. Many patients lead long, active, and fulfilling lives for 5, 10, 20 or more years. The length of time depends on many things such as age, gender, other health problems, and how well you follow your treatment plan.
Take an Active Role in Your Care Team
The person on dialysis is the single most important member of the care team. Others include the kidney doctor, dialysis nurse, social worker, dietitian, and technician, as well as family and friends. People who do the best on dialysis actively work with their care team to make a treatment plan that fits their lifestyle and life goals.
Stick to the Plan
Once you have a treatment plan, don’t cheat your health by missing treatments or cutting them short. Ask any member of your team to explain your dialysis dose number. Keep track of it so you know if you are getting the right amount of treatment to feel your best.
Find out about the many things you can do to lead a longer, healthier life. Learn from your dietitian how to manage fluid gain and eat a dialysis-friendly diet. Listen to your team when they discuss ways to reduce the chance for infection and hospitalization. Explore dialysis treatment options to find one that fits your health and lifestyle needs.
Inform your team if there has been any change in your dialysis access or other body parts or functions. Be sure they know if you had a fall or other accident or have recently been in the hospital. Ask your social worker for help if you are troubled in some area of your life.
Life on dialysis can mean a longer life, but it should also mean a better life. Take an active role in your care team. Make sure you get your full dialysis treatment each and every time. Have meaningful discussions with your care team and take advantage of their experience and personalized care. All of these things will help you live a fuller, more satisfying life.