Kidney Transplantation and Dialysis Program

The Pediatric Dialysis Team and Facility

The dialysis team

In the Pediatric Dialysis Unit at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia our team of professionals who specialize in the care of children works closely in partnership with family members, to ensure children with kidney failure receive the best possible medical attention and support they need.

Physicians: Several doctors are involved in the care of pediatric dialysis patients.

Nurses: Our nursing staff is specifically trained to care for infants, children and adolescents receiving dialysis treatments. They help the physicians put together each patient's care plan. They also teach family members how to care for dialysis patients at home. The nursing staff keeps families informed about their children's treatment, lab work and any other medical procedures.

Social worker: The social worker helps youngsters and families to adjust to the changes that dialysis brings to their lives. There are many ways the social worker can assist you. These can include help with:

The social worker can identify support services, such as counseling, for parents and children who are under stress. The social worker can also arrange for interpreters for patients and families who would prefer to speak in a language other than English or who are deaf or hard of hearing.

Psychology: Our psychology team can help patients and families carry out recommended medical plans. It can sometimes be difficult to follow all of the doctor's recommendations. Our team can help figure out ways to help youngsters follow the renal diet and fluid limits. They can also help identify strategies to make sure all the prescribed medicines are taken. Our team can help families add these new demands into their regular routines.

Child life specialists: The child life specialist provides age-appropriate activities for children during dialysis. Opportunities to play games, do crafts and art, as well as play, are offered. Child life activities can help children feel at ease during treatments. The child life specialist can help prepare children for medical procedures and distract them during the procedures. Learning these techniques can support coping and reduce fear and anxiety.

Nutritionist: Nutritionists (or dietitians) are experts in what people eat and drink. They are trained to counsel children and families on the special nutritional needs of dialysis patients. Dialysis patients' nutrition is closely monitored. The nutritionist can suggest meals and snacks that are safe and teach ways to avoid problems that can result from an unhealthy diet.

Creative Arts Therapy: The creative arts therapy program helps patients and family members use art and music to express feelings.

Families: Family members are also important members of the health care team. The Pediatric Dialysis Unit welcomes and encourages family participation and questions. Families know their children better than anyone else and can see things that the medical team can miss. Please feel free to bring up any concern or question you may have with any member of the team.

The dialysis facility

We use a few different kinds of dialysis machines in the Pediatric Dialysis Unit. The nurses and doctors will decide which type of machine is best for your child's dialysis treatment. Because of this, your child might not use the same chair for every treatment. The staff will inform him where to sit each time he comes.

Our unit can treat up to six patients at one time. Each chair has its own TV and video game system, and VCRs are available for viewing movies on the TV. The unit has a private bathroom for patients only.

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Reviewed by: Bernard S. Kaplan, MB, BCh, FAAP
Date: July 2005

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