How to Safely Perform Home Dialysis

If you have chosen to do home hemodialysis, you need to be aware of the two biggest concerns that most patients have. One is how do I set up and manage this machine in my home? And the other is how do you put in your own needles, otherwise known as self-cannulation? You can be assured that at Houston Kidney Specialists Center, you will get the best training on how to operate the Cypress home dialysis machine safely in your home.

There is no better feeling than knowing that you can manage your disease and do not need somebody to help you. Before you learn to put your needles in, you first must understand the two different types of available accesses. One is a fistula; the other is a graft.

Your access is placed in surgery. An AAV fistula is connecting an artery to a vein using your own vessels. An AB fistula is often placed either in the wrist area, the forearm, or the upper arm. When a graft is placed, they actually use a piece of artificial tubing that creates a loop, and one end is connected to the artery, the other is connected to a vein. Each time you are going to put your own needles in, you will follow a checklist to not forget any of the steps. Your nurse will teach you how to do each one of these things.

The first step is to gather your supplies.

You will want to wash your hands first. Some of the supplies you will be gathering would be your fistula needles, Band-Aids or gauze tape syringes, tourniquet, and the antiseptic agent you will be using to disinfect your excess. You want to keep some of those things very at hand. After gathering all of your supplies, you should rewash your hands using a hand sanitizer.

The next thing you are going to do is wash your access with liquid soap

This step will help loosen bacteria from your skin after washing your access. You will then disinfect the access site using a disinfecting agent that your home training nurse will teach you how to use appropriately. If you are using a numbing cream or an anesthetic agent, your nurse will teach you how to use that; it could be a cream, a spray, or an injectable. You are almost ready to put your needles in.

The next thing you need to do is put on a mask, sanitize your hands, and put on new clean gloves. If you are using a tourniquet, you want to make sure to place it several inches above where you are actually going to put your needles in. Because the tourniquet stabilizes and firms the vessel, it makes it easier to put the needles in.

When inserting your needles

You need to make sure that you do it at the correct angle for a fistula. You insert the needle at a 20 to 25-degree angle for your graft. After you advance the needle in the correct position, you will want to secure the needle in place with tape, and do not forget to put a Band-Aid over the puncture site.

There are a couple of different ways to tape your needles securely in place. Your training nurse will show you which one they commonly use. There is the chevron method and the side-by-side or lateral method. Once you have secured your needles in place, you are ready to start your treatment by connecting to the bloodlines.

Contact Houston Kidney Specialists Center and get trained in becoming an expert at self cannulation and home dialysis.

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