8. How will dialysis affect my family?
Family and social support is very very important in dialysis patients. As you start peritoneal dialysis, some of the roles in family will change. With peritoneal dialysis, you will be able to remain much more independent than hemodialysis. Remember, you will need your family for support as you begin dialysis, and your family will need your support as well. It is hard to see a loved one starting dialysis. Some patients start becoming frustrated on dialysis and may start blaming themselves or their family members. Try to stay positive. Family members are very important. I can not stress enough on this. Make sure to take your family members to the dialysis unit too. This way, they will see some of the challenges you are facing. In addition, try to make a close friendship with your family members and dialysis team. When you get referral to a transplant center, one of the main things they look at is who is your family members and how much social support you have to help you through transplant. Also remember, family members could be best possible source of kidney donation.
9. Will I still take the same medications once I start dialysis?
This is a good question. I know as a patient with kidney disease, you may have many medications to take. Your nephrologist (kidney doctor) will decide what medications are needed once you begin dialysis. No new medications (over-the-counter or prescriptions from other doctors) should be taken without checking with your nephrologist. If any doctor starts you on new medications, let them know that you are on peritoneal dialysis. Different medications need different dose adjustment once a patient native kidneys fail and start peritoneal dialysis. Always always always have an updated list of your medications and their dosages you are taking and show it to your dialysis team. If the dialysis team wants to change or add new medication write down their name and indications. Remember, try to stay active. It is easy to lose hope and be passive. If you want to get better, you need to stay positive and take role. Be involved.
10. Will I qualify for Medicare to help pay for the peritoneal dialysis?
Yes. In United States all dialysis patients qualify for medicare. Your dialysis unit social worker will assist you with Medicare and other sources that might be available to help pay for dialysis. Each peritoneal dialysis center should have at least one social worker. Try to know the social worker closely. These people can make your life much easier. Talk to them. Let them know about what you do. Tell them your financial and social needs. The dialysis social workers have resources to help you in many ways. Before your monthly peritoneal dialysis check up, take a piece of paper and write down your questions and difficulties you face on peritoneal dialysis. The dialysis team and social worker will try to help you with them.