Most likely, a dialysis center isn’t on the list of places you’d like to visit this holiday season. But for many with end stage renal disease, in the middle of shopping, family time, meal planning, and decorating are trips to and from the clinic for treatment. That means scheduling around therapy sessions, time in the car (sometimes in bad weather), and the possibility of missing memorable moments.
For home hemodialysis (HHD) patients, things are often different. More frequent HHD comes with freedoms and benefits that in-center hemodialysis (ICHD) may not, so you can feel more “at home” for the holidays – wherever your stockings happen to be hung. As a more frequent HHD patient, you may have the potential to:
Dialyze in your living room, a relative’s house, a hotel room, RV, etc.
Plan treatments when they work best for you and your loved ones.
No driving to the dialysis center multiple times a week.
Spend time with family and friends, even while dialyzing.
Enjoy more holiday foods due to fewer dietary restrictions.1
Feel more energetic for parties and traditions.2
With all these possibilities, people on HHD tell us that the holidays are more enjoyable than when they were in-center patients.
“I find the holidays very special, and cherish this family time every year,” says Grace, a home dialysis patient of 10 years. “I have more family time now, not only because of the flexible schedule I enjoy on HHD, but most importantly, I now have the energy to experience quality time enjoying memorable activities with the people closest to my heart.”
For Dawn and Jimmie, coming home on Christmas Eve after being trained to do HHD was better than any gift they might have found under the tree.
“It truly was the best Christmas present we could have received,” Dawn remembers. “Being able to do treatment on our schedule, and Jimmie felt so good. He could actually enjoy the festivities for once and not feel tired and wiped out.”
As with many, food is a big part of the holidays for Grace and her Korean family. One tradition is going out for authentic Korean “hot pot,” a stew-like dish that Grace describes as having “an endless amount of meat, veggies, and noodles.”
“When I transitioned to more frequent HHD, it was right before the holidays,” recalls Grace. “This meant I could enjoy Thanksgiving and Christmas with more of a sense of freedom and joy. With fewer dietary restrictions, I can enjoy some of my favorite foods during these special times.”
As Grace, Dawn, and Jimmie have experienced, more frequent HHD therapy more closely mimics the fluid and toxin removal of healthy kidneys than in-center dialysis three days a week.3 Combined with the convenience and flexibility of being home and having some flexibility over their treatment schedules, that adds up to a list of health and lifestyle benefits that can potentially help people with kidney failure feel better – no matter the season.
As summed up by Grace, “To be able to be on HHD, especially during the holidays, is a true blessing for me because I do not feel the pressure of having fluid buildup, I do not feel guilty eating delicious food, and I have the energy to actually enjoy quality and memorable family time.”
*Not all patients may experience these benefits.
Home hemodialysis with NxStage systems involves risks, and you may not experience the potential benefits of such therapy. NxStage systems require a prescription for use. If your doctor prescribes more frequent therapy, your vascular access is exposed to more frequent use which may lead to access related complications, including infection of the site.
- Spanner E, Suri R, Heidenheim AP, Lindsay RM. The impact of quotidian hemodialysis on nutrition. Am J Kidney Dis. 2003;42(1 suppl):30-35.
- Finkelstein FO, Schiller B, Daoui R, et al. At-home short daily hemodialysis improves the long-term health-related quality of life. Kidney Int. 2012;82(5): 561-569.
- Daugirdas, John T.; Blake, Peter G.; and Ing, Todd S., “Handbook of Dialysis (5th ed.)” (2015)