education

Top ten tips for people starting dialysis

Dialysis can be daunting – learning more about it and understanding your options might help you feel calmer and better prepared. Here are ten ways to get ready for dialysis.

1. Find a kidney doctor if you don’t already have one. A nephrologist — a kidney doctor — is an expert on kidney care. If you’re in the Pacific Northwest, use our search tool to find a nephrologist near you.

2. Learn about your treatment options. If you need dialysis, there are different options that might work for you. Learn about home dialysis and in-center dialysis, then talk to your kidney doctor about what could work best for you.

3. Meet with a nutritionist at your dialysis center to discuss the kidney diet. If you need dialysis, you’ll likely benefit from changing your diet. Eating the right foods while on dialysis will help you feel better.

4. Take a class about kidney health. There are many resources out there to help you learn how to feel good while on dialysis. Sign up for our free classes to understand your treatment options, how diet and exercise can make you feel better, and other ways to help slow the progression of your kidney disease.

5. Try to create a dialysis schedule around work and regularly scheduled activities. Dialysis is time-consuming but it doesn’t have to mean you’ll miss out on all your usual activities. Work with your dialysis care team to find a treatment schedule that helps you stay involved with work and your community.

6. Talk to the care team at your dialysis clinic about insurance. Speak with members of your dialysis clinic’s financial team to learn about Medicare and what kidney care it covers. 

7. Talk to someone who has been on dialysis. One of the best ways to understand what dialysis is like is to chat with people who are also on it. While undergoing treatment, talk to others who are dialyzing to get tips from them. Or, meet up with someone from The Road Back to Life, a group of people with kidney disease who have been on dialysis or received a kidney transplant.

8. Find recipes that follow your kidney diet and stock up on those foods. There are some absolutely delicious foods that align with the kidney diet. Check out our kidney-friendly recipes for some to try.

9. Make an exercise plan with your doctor. Fitness is important for everyone, including people on dialysis. Regular exercise — even short walks or stretching — will help you feel better and could help slow your kidney disease down. Work with your doctor to create a fitness plan that works for you.

10. Be your own advocate. No one knows you better than you. If something isn’t going well for you, speak up. Talk to your nephrologist or the kidney care team at your dialysis center to see how your care plan could change to make you feel better.

 

Although adjusting to being on dialysis can be difficult, there’s a community of people here to help. You’re not alone with your disease — talking with others and sharing your own experiences can help. Search, and share your own story, with #MyKidneyStory on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Survive and thrive with Tena!

Happy World Kidney Day! Whether you’ve just been diagnosed with chronic kidney disease, have been on dialysis for some time or are waiting for a transplant, there are a number of ways to prolong the life of your kidneys and improve your overall health.

Two years ago, Tena saw a brochure at her nephrologist’s office for PSKC’s Survive and Thrive with Chronic Kidney Disease program, a free community class hosted by PSKC year round. The goal of the program is to teach people with early kidney problems about making successful lifestyle changes. Subjects covered include healthy eating, exercise, blood pressure management, coping with kidney disease and treatment options. In class, participants meet with a doctor, physician assistant, social worker, dietitians and patient mentors.

Tena H. learned more about dialysis through our Survive and Thrive program.

Tena was newly diagnosed with stage three CKD and had a lot of questions and concerns about living a healthy, happy life. After attending the first class, Tena started to feel that “this disease is not a death sentence and there’s a lot of hope.” Specifically, Tena found hope and support hearing from members of the patient organization, The Road Back to Life. “They really make you listen and know you’re not alone.”

After completing the classes, Tena said she learned many new skills to promote her health or, as she calls it, develop a “new normal.” She learned that the nutrition piece and social work piece are just as important as the nephrology visits. She also learned how to appropriately read food labels, cook with different herbs and spices, and plan ahead to carry out a fulfilled life. Tena’s support network expanded as well. She said she walked away from the class feeling that “when you share, you can connect.”

Now Tena is taking what she learned in class and bringing it to her community. Most recently she connected with PSKC social workers to talk with her peers about advance care planning. Thank you, Tena, for sharing your story and helping us ignite new conversations about health and wellness!

Learn more about our free classes at www.pskc.net/classes.

Puget Sound Kidney Centers’ Annual Dialysis Conference a big success

We held this year’s Annual Dialysis Update conference on May 18, 2017 in Lynnwood, WA and were very pleased with our top-notch presenters and the discussions that ensued from their presentations. Designed to address key issues affecting the rapidly changing field of dialysis and the impact of such changes on patient health outcomes, the conference aims to inform professionals in dialysis care about recent developments in the field and allows attendees to exchange ideas and practical solutions with one another.

Presenters discussed dialysis access, the appropriate dialysis prescription and managing mineral metabolism in dialysis patients. They also covered poverty, something many dialysis patients face, and the benefits of home hemodialysis.

Surgeon Dr. John Crabtree presented on peritoneal dialysis access at this year’s conference.

We were thrilled with the feedback we received from attendees.

“Extremely varied program kept conference interesting. Top-notch speakers.”
“Great conference! Kudos to organizers and speakers.”
“Excellent caliber of speakers! Love the combination of high quality clinical care and science with the tops of compassion and humanizing dialysis.”
“Great in every way!”

The conference, co-chaired by renowned nephrologist Dr. Suhail Ahmad and Dr. Pamila Keech, Puget Sound Kidney Centers’ chief medical officer, welcomed healthcare professionals from near and far.

ADU conference attendees listened to presentations.

Dr. Pamila Keech, Puget Sound Kidney Centers’ chief medical officer, with Dr. Donna Beegle. Dr. Beegle presented on poverty to this year’s conference attendees.

 

We’re already looking forward to next year’s event! Check back on our website next Spring for information on the 2018 conference.

And make sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter to stay up-to-date with other Puget Sound Kidney Centers events.