A Dialysis Treatment Schedule to Fit Your Life

Drive across town. Weave through traffic. Get to the clinic. Wait some more. Drive home. Repeat. That’s the typical schedule for someone on dialysis three days a week or more. It’s one of the biggest challenges for treating people with kidney failure. Dialysis treatments make it hard to work, travel, and even spend time with family and friends. But skip dialysis appointments, and you’ll feel worse.

Nephrology researchers have studied this issue for years. And one of the biggest complaints from patients is the location-dependent nature of dialysis. Some people can receive dialysis treatments at home, cutting down on some of the time demands. But that hasn’t solved the problem of mobility.

Dialysis treatment on the go

What if you could get the dialysis treatments you need without having to make a trip to the clinic three to five times a week? It could have a big impact on quality of life for those with kidney disease, and their families.

It might sound like a pipe dream or science fiction experiment, but it’s not. Researcher Jonathan Himmelfarb is working on a portable, wearable kidney that could do just that. In the current design, all the necessary equipment to provide dialysis treatment is mounted to a large belt. The wearable kidney went through a round of testing in 2015, and participants all said limiting the need for on-site dialysis treatments was a positive experience. Now Himmelfarb’s team is working on improving the device, and identifying ways to prevent potential failures.

Day/night schedule for dialysis treatments

The time commitment for dialysis treatments has also prompted researchers to pursue other treatment options to reduce the impact on quality of life. In a study at Stanford University, researchers found that alternating dialysis treatments between daytime appointments, and dialysis while sleeping provided the same benefits as daily on-site dialysis treatments. Dialysis is a necessary treatment when you have kidney disease. Fortunately, there are emerging trends that will help make it easier for patients to manage this condition. In addition to dialysis, dietary and lifestyle habits can have a big impact on your health and quality of life when you have kidney failure.