Dialysis is a medical procedure where a patient’s blood is purified with the help of equipment. The kidneys are responsible for purifying the blood by filtering it from impurities and toxic substances for the body’s proper functioning. When the kidneys fail to function properly—which might occur due to certain medical conditions—the body suffers from an imbalance in fluids and electrolytes. That’s when dialysis comes into play.

Health conditions like kidney failure, acute kidney injury, End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD), and so on would require dialysis. There are two types of dialysis:

  • Haemodialysis – Haemodialysis removes unwanted substances from the blood through equipment that accesses the body through the arm.
  • Peritoneal dialysis – This type of dialysis needs to be carried out everyday and the equipment gets access to the body through the abdomen. This medical procedure can also be performed at home.

Dialysis at home has become common in the US. About 14% of patients undergo the procedure at home either by themselves or with the assistance of medical care personnel. Around 2% of people in the country undergo haemodialysis at home.

Home dialysis in older adults

With the treatment being possible to practice at home and an increasing number of dialysis among elderly people, people started to wonder if the process is effective at home permanently. Studies have put forward their findings, helping one find the answer to the much-asked question, “Is home hemodialysis a practical option?”

Is home dialysis better than hospital?

Home dialysis for elderly people with ESRD makes them feel comfortable about the procedure, sparing them from the anxiety of being in a hospital. This also gives the patients the choice to select their dialysis schedule, and spend more time with family and friends. Recovery time would also reduce significantly in home dialysis. The usual recovery time is eight hours, but it is just one hour at home.

How difficult is home dialysis?

As much as the patient would find comfort and support in home dialysis among elderly patients, the entire process is difficult and any minor mistake would lead to consequences. Home dialysis requires utmost care and dedication from the patient and the person taking care of them. One of the patient’s family members or the person themselves had to hold responsibility for the procedure, from managing the equipment to placing the needles on the body.

Disadvantages of home dialysis

Despite the advantages and benefits of home dialysis among elderly patients, one should be aware of its cons. The lack or absence of a medical care person for assistance could complicate things, and could sometimes lead to problems like misplacing needles or infections. Infections during home dialysis occur due to improper handling of the needles or equipment, which could result in severe consequences. So it is important to follow the procedure properly.

Home dialysis among elderly patients is a balance of pros and cons. Make sure to have a thorough consultation with a specialized healthcare professional about the procedure and training. Also, discuss this with your family to confirm if everyone has a mutual understanding of the same..