Home Dialysis Patients Assisted by Shared Medical Appointments
The Wisconsin Dialysis (WDI) Home Program (staffed by UW Health physicians and staff) offers a more convenient option for patients needing hemodialysis or peritoneal dialysis.
Patients are able to dialyze daily at a flexible and convenient time in the comfort of their own homes. By doing dialysis every day, fluid gains and electrolyte accumulation can be better controlled, often resulting in fewer medications, infections, hospitalizations and generally better overall health for patients.
There are resources to assist patients on home dialysis that help make the most of this self-care option:
- A three-week course of half-day training sessions for all new home hemodialysis patients and their caregivers is taught by the nursing team. How to prepare, use, maintain and troubleshoot the machine is the most critical topic.
- A five half-day training course for all peritoneal dialysis patients and their caregivers is taught by the nursing team and includes equipment care and troubleshooting.
- As an alternative to a traditional individual clinic appointment, an optional Shared Medical Appointment (SMA) group meets once a month to jointly go over each patient's test results and discuss topics that pertain to the home dialysis patient experience. Presentations are given by professionals from pharmacy, nutrition, social work and other specialties, as well as the nursing team. Advice on specific situations and educational updates are among the types of topics covered at these meetings. The SMA option is the first in the nation for home dialysis patients and has been an overwhelming success.
According to WDI Home Program Medical Director Micah Chan, MD, MPH, "We are thrilled to see the positive reaction of home dialysis patients who have joined the SMA group. They can share their concerns and issues with others who understand and can add their own experience to the discussion."
Dr. Chan is part of UW Health's nationally-ranked Nephrology Division in the Department of Medicine.
Most patients are eligible through a combination of private insurance, Medicare and government programs. WDI social workers are experienced in obtaining coverage from existing patient insurances and government programs for dialysis patients.
For further information about home dialysis or the SMA group, please contact Karen Schlageter, RN, clinic manager, at (608) 270-5620.