Your child will be either on the morning shift or the afternoon shift for dialysis. If he or she is treated in the morning, you will need to arrive at the unit no later than 8:00 a.m. If treated in the afternoon, you will need to arrive by noon. It is important that you keep to your scheduled time so we can make sure your child gets a full dialysis treatment. Here are a few tips for your child to review before coming in for dialysis:
Before you start your treatment
When you come in to the unit, you will:
- Hang up the things you don't want at your chair (coat, backpack, etc.).
- Get the sheets, blankets and pillow you will need to be comfortable during your treatment. You will cover your chair with a sheet, and then set up the pillow and blankets any way you like. If you need help, ask one of the nurses.
- Choose whatever activities you would like to use while you are on the machine (homework, books, movies, art supplies).
- Go to the bathroom — use the toilet if you need to, then wash your arm really well if you have a graft or fistula.
- The nurse will ask you to stand on the scale to be weighed.
- You will take your temperature.
- The nurse will ask how you are feeling and if there is anything the staff needs to know. It is very important that you tell the nurses if you aren't feeling well or if anything different or unusual has happened since your last treatment.
Now you are ready to start dialysis. For safety reasons, the nurses will ask parents and visitors to wait in the waiting room while treatment is started for you and other patients. Parents and visitors may come back into the unit as soon as you and all the other kids are on the machines.
Some things to keep in mind
- It is very important to have breakfast or lunch before your treatment starts.
- You may not eat or drink while you are in the dialysis unit because it could cause you to cramp. You may have ice chips if you get especially thirsty.
- It is very important to tell your nurse how you are feeling during your treatment. If you start to feel poorly or if something hurts, tell your nurse right away.
- Dialysis is a great time to get homework done! Make sure to bring your work with you from home. At times, a volunteer tutor may be available to help you.
- Headphones must be used when you are watching a movie or TV or playing a video game. We will loan you headphones to use each time you come to the unit.
- It is a good idea to have games or books to help pass the time while you are on dialysis. We have lots of things in the unit that you are welcome to use!
- The machines beep a lot during treatments. You should not worry about this because it usually does not mean anything is wrong. The nurses will come and take care of whatever needs to be adjusted. Your nurse may ask you to change position a little so you can get the best possible treatment.
- The physicians will come around at least once each week while you are on the machine and check in to see how you are doing.
When your dialysis treatment is finished
When your treatment is finished, parents and visitors will again be asked to wait in the waiting room while the nurses take you off the machine.
- If you have a graft or a fistula, the nurse will ask you to hold each site after the needles are removed. This means that you will hold cotton over one site for a few minutes and use some pressure so it does not bleed. Then the second needle will be removed in the same manner.
- You will take your temperature again.
- You will be weighed again.
- You will take the sheets and blankets off your chair and put them and your pillowcase in the laundry basket.
- You will put away whatever toys or materials you used during your treatment.
- You are ready to go!
Get more information:
The Dialysis Unit
Starting Dialysis: Frequently Asked Questions
Nutrition and Dialysis
Reviewed by: Bernard S. Kaplan, MB, BCh, FAAP
Date: July 2005