Ask about home dialysis. If you are in the later stages of kidney disease and at risk for kidney failure, ask your doctor to explain all your treatment options, including home dialysis.
Home dialysis puts you in charge
For some people, doing dialysis at home can offer benefits over going to a clinic. But too many people are not being told that home dialysis could be an option for them. Be your own strongest advocate and talk to your doctor to find out whether doing your dialysis at home could be right for you.
5 reasons to consider home dialysis
Home dialysis is not for everyone, but there are benefits that could improve your quality of life. Learn about the differences between in-clinic and doing dialysis at home, with either peritoneal dialysis or home hemodialysis. By doing dialysis at home, you can:
Create your own dialysis schedule, allowing you to spend more time doing the things you enjoy
Possibly continue working
Travel more easily
Enjoy more flexibility with what you can eat
Experience fewer dialysis side effects
Home dialysis is an equity issue
With home dialysis, you are in charge of your treatments, which means you can make your dialysis schedule work for your lifestyle. For example, you may want to dialyze overnight while you sleep so you can go to work in the morning. With home dialysis, you dialyze more often than in the dialysis clinic — resulting in better health outcomes, fewer side effects and more time with family and friends.
Home dialysis: know your options
Despite the advantages, Black and Hispanic people are about 25% less likely to use home dialysis than White people. This can be due to lack of awareness about home dialysis, but unfortunately some health care providers — due to racial biases — assume people of color do not have the skills or may not meet the requirements for home dialysis. As a result, many Black and Hispanic patients are not given the option of experiencing the benefits that home dialysis often provides.
By the numbers
Black and Hispanic people are 25% less likely to use home dialysis than White people.
Just 13% of dialysis patients were using home dialysis in 2019.
45% of dialysis facilities were not yet certified by Medicare to offer home dialysis in 2019.
Exploring home dialysis begins with you
Learn more from our Health Equity Coalition member Home Dialyzors United.
Get a second opinion. If you are currently doing dialysis in a clinic, tell your doctor you want to be considered for home dialysis. If they turn you down, ask for a second opinion. You can also ask to talk with a social worker to address the reasons you were turned down.
Involve your health care team. Talk with them about ways to meet the requirements for home dialysis. For example, your social worker may suggest ways to make space in your home for the dialysis equipment you need.
Assistance with insurance
Get help paying for dialysis treatments
If you have kidney failure but are unable to afford the cost of your health insurance premiums, the American Kidney Fund's Health Insurance Premium Program (HIPP) may be able to help. HIPP helps address health equity challenges facing people from communities of color and low-income households. About two-thirds of people who receive help from HIPP are people of color.
Home dialysis resources
Understanding Your Home Dialysis Options
In September 2022, AKF came together with Home Dialyzors United (HDU), a nonprofit advocating on behalf of the home dialyzor dialysis community, to host a virtual summit. This video explores the differences between in-center and home dialysis, and the pros and cons of each.
Ready, set, take action
In spite of the challenges, it only takes one person at a time — armed with the right tools and knowledge — to take lifesaving action. The American Kidney Fund provides the help and support that you need to join the fight for health equity.