Dialyspa Helps New Dialysis Patients Find Best Dialysis Center

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Dialyspa dialysis centers address the questions and needs of those beginning dialysis treatments by offering personal tours and monthly support groups at each of their three Houston clinics.

Sometimes kidneys can decrease in function over a period of time, such as when someone has Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) or Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD). Other times kidneys fail unexpectedly due to trauma, reaction to medications or other situations that damage the organ. This sudden loss of kidney function is called Acute Kidney Disease. Depending on the reason for the loss of kidney capacity, the need for dialysis could be something that is planned in advance or it might be a decision made quickly to save a life. Under either circumstance, dialysis patients need support in adjusting to their new situation. A dialysis center in Houston, Dialyspa, is working to make this transition easier for dialysis patients by offering personal tours, education and on-going support groups.

Choosing a dialysis center is the first step in beginning dialysis outside of a hospital setting. If the need for dialysis is anticipated, this presents an opportunity to visit different dialysis centers before beginning treatment. Dialysis treatments are typically scheduled three times per week, for three to five hours per session. In-center dialysis can require over twelve hours a week! Due to the amount of time spent in the dialysis center, it is important to tour several dialysis centers, meet the staff and make comparisons.

“Many kidney patients are unaware they have a right to choose where they receive dialysis.” says Elissa Alonzo, Patient Ambassador for Dialyspa. “If you can tour several dialysis centers before starting dialysis, it is a good way to tell where you would feel the most comfortable and safe. If you are already on dialysis, remember that changing dialysis centers to find the right fit can be an option.” Alonzo offers guidance in what to ask when touring a dialysis center:

What types of dialysis do you offer?
What are the staffing ratios at your clinic?
What shifts do you offer? Does the clinic offer a nocturnal shift?
If I am working and must arrive late for my dialysis treatment, will you accommodate my late arrival?
Can I meet the nurse who would train me for home dialysis?
Is there a social worker and dietitian at this clinic? What is their caseload?
What amenities does the clinic have for patients and guests?
Can I try one of the dialysis chairs for comfort?
Does the clinic offer a patient support group?
Does this clinic have a back-up generato r? What is the procedure in the event of a power outage?
What type of education will I receive about kidney transplants?

The second step to adjusting to life on dialysis is addressing the emotional aspect of the process. A patient who has been diagnosed with end stage renal failure (ESRD) may feel angry, depressed, confused, or scared. These are normal emotions. Fortunately, dialysis is a life-saving treatment but a dialysis center should be prepared to help patients maintain their emotional health as well.

“Dialyspa chooses to have a lower caseload for our social workers and dietitians. This allows more time to give personalized care to our patients and their caregivers.” states Jerilynn Jones, Director of Social Services and Education for Dialyspa. “However, we realize dialysis patients and loved ones need an opportunity to talk with others who can understand their experiences. When we started our kidney support group in January 2012, there were no other ongoing dialysis support groups in the Houston area. It felt like an important part of well-being was not being addressed! We are proud to say that every one of our clinics offers a monthly kidney support group. To see new or pre-dialysis patients and their families sit with others who have been on dialysis is comforting. The message given is: feeling scared when beginning dialysis is normal. With time, knowledge and familiarity, it gets better. Life on dialysis is different from pre-dialysis, but you are living! Know that you are not alone.”

The Dialyspa team urges those new to dialysis to tour and interview several dialysis centers. Finding out what options are available, working with a kidney doctor to select a dialysis center and building a support system are the first steps to starting life on dialysis.

To schedule a private tour at one of the three Dialyspa locations or to find out more about the Kidney Support Group, please visit Dialyspa’s web site or call 713-218-6500.

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Elissa Alonzo
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