Do I have to be on dialysis for the rest of my life?

This depends on why you had to start dialysis.  Sometimes patients do regain kidney function after starting dialysis. It is best to consult with your Nephrologist regarding the possibility of regaining your function,  successful kidney transplantation will also enable you to stop dialysis.

If my doctor tells me I need to start dialysis, do I have to go to a clinic to have treatment?

There are 4 treatment options available for patients diagnosed with stage 5 kidney failure.  Your doctor can help you decide which option may work best for you.

  • Hemodialysis—this can be done in a clinic setting or within the comfort of your own home with assistance from medical personnel
  • Peritoneal Dialysis—you can are trained to administer your own treatments at home, with ongoing support from your dialysis treatment team
  • Kidney Transplantation—this is a surgical intervention in which a healthy kidney is placed into your body to treat your kidney failure
  • Non-treatment—a patient can always decide that medical intervention is not desired, and opt not to treat kidney failure at all.

Will I be able to travel after starting dialysis?

There are dialysis units in most every city in the United States.  With appropriate notice and planning, your Renal Social Worker can find a clinic that can accommodate you for your dialysis treatments during your travels.

If I start dialysis, do I have to stop working?

Your treatment team will encourage you to continue working as long as you can.  Many dialysis patients maintain full time employment, run businesses, go to school, run households and continue active lifestyles while on dialysis.  Patients who do best are those who are involved in their care and follow a treatment plan developed with their treatment team.

Will people see me the same after I have started dialysis?

You can maintain your roles in your family, and relationships with your friends, coworkers and associates after starting dialysis.  If you work hard to stay healthy, and happy, others will continue to see you that way.  Stay positive!

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