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Haemodialysis and

                                                                             Peritoneal Dialysis
                                                                              – A Guide for Patients

                                       ADJUSTING TO LIFE ON DIALYSIS
                           Adjusting to life on dialysis can be achieved by the following:

           Educate yourself – Find out as much as you can     than what you cannot. Do things that help you to
        about dialysis and the treatment options available.   relax.
        Ask questions; the renal team is there to help you.      Take control  – Take charge of yourself.
        It can be difficult to take it all in at first because  Familiarise yourself with your treatment, your
        there seems so much to learn.                         drugs, and your diet and fluid restrictions. They are
           Seek support – Be prepared to talk about how       prescriptions to keep you well, and if you work with
        you feel and your concerns. The renal team            them, rather than fight against them, they will help
        comprises members who can offer specialist advice     you cope and feel better.
        and support, and their roles are explained in this       The Irish Kidney Association – Support from
        book. Counselling is available for both you and your  the patients’ association is very helpful and it is
        family and can be arranged by speaking to any         advisable to join. Even if you cannot actively attend
        member of the renal staff.                            local meetings, you can be informed about
           Maintain relationships – Being on dialysis at      forthcoming events and other support services for
        first can make you feel ‘different’ from your family  patients in their quarterly newsletter.
        and friends. Remember that they do not know what         Healthy lifestyle – Do not forget the basics.
        to expect any more than you do. Talk to them and      Keeping well means taking care of yourself
        stay involved with them.                              physically, emotionally, socially and spiritually.
           Do not let dialysis take over your life – Yes,     Eating well and healthily within your dietary
        changes are inevitable, because adjustments have      restrictions, getting enough sleep, taking some
        to be made to facilitate dialysis in your life.       exercise, getting fresh air and relaxation are all
        However, it does not mean you have to put your life   important. Also, not smoking and alcohol
        ‘on hold’.                                            consumption, in moderation within the fluid/dietary
           Despite the restrictions on your time, stay        restrictions, will all help you to cope.
        involved as much as practically possible with your       Seek help – If you feel unable to cope, talk to a
        other interests such as family activities, work,      member of staff and consider counselling.
        education, leisure pursuits.                          Counselling provides a one-to-one confidential
           Try to stay positive – This can seem a difficult   opportunity to talk about your problems and
        task. However, if you work at it, it can be managed.  receive help to cope. Counselling is available for you
        Try to concentrate on what you can do rather          and your family.

                                       DO I HAVE TO GO ON DIALYSIS?
             Yes, if you want to keep living. However, for some people who may be coping with other serious
             or chronic illnesses or have a poor quality of life due to illness, the option of dialysis might
             appear to offer prolonged suffering rather than relief. Dialysis is a treatment choice, not a cure
             for kidney disease. You have the right to choose not to go on dialysis, or to have dialysis for a
             trial period, to see how you get on with it. You have the right to stop dialysis if you feel it is
             not for you.
               This is a very difficult decision to make, and one, which affects you and your family. The
             kidney team is available to discuss all options with you.

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