When you are deciding whether you want to do peritoneal dialysis and what schedule is best for you, it is important to consider how the treatment will fit with your lifestyle. Do you travel often? Do you work or go to school during the day? Are you good about staying on your diet plan? PD exchanges take time and must be done in a clean, dry place. Missing PD treatments can cause serious health problems. If you are someone who needs in-person appointments to stay on track with your treatment, PD might not be right for you. Think about your personality and your daily routine when you are deciding on a treatment plan.

Diet

Most people who are on PD follow a diet that limits phosphorus, potassium, sodium and protein. However, the diet for people on PD may be less strict than the diet for people who are on hemodialysis. If you have trouble sticking to a strict diet plan, choosing PD instead of hemodialysis might help you by giving you slightly more freedom with what you eat and drink.

Work and school

PD exchanges can be done anywhere that is clean and dry. Therefore, people who are on PD often have a more flexible treatment schedule than people on in-center dialysis. Choosing to do PD instead of in-center hemodialysis may enable you to keep your regular schedule for work, school or other activities.

While PD allows for a more flexible schedule than in-center hemodialysis, it is important to understand that this does not mean it is ok to miss treatments. You must follow your doctor’s instructions regarding when and how many PD exchanges you do each day.

Travel and activities

Talk with your doctor about how often and where you plan to travel. Also make sure your doctor knows about the types of activities you enjoy. Peritoneal dialysis offers a lot of flexibility, but there are some limits on activities. Usually, your PD supplies can be shipped to your travel destinations, and you can do your exchanges in clean, dry locations on your trip. However, if you really enjoy swimming or using hot tubs, PD might not be right for you because you should not get your catheter area wet. If your doctor knows about the activities you enjoy, he or she might be able to recommend a treatment plan that allows you to continue those activities.

Paying for treatment

Medicare and most private insurance policies cover peritoneal dialysis. If you have Medicare, your coverage for PD may begin as early as the first month of treatment. Talk to your social worker to find out your insurance options, if you can get Medicare and whether you need a second type of insurance.