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Home Dialysis: Who Cares for the Carer?
Published by NHS Kidney Care, September 2011
For people with end stage kidney disease, a move to home dialysis can literally transform their life.
More freedom and flexibility than in-centre dialysis, along with less travel time and fewer dietary
restrictions, all lead to a better quality of life. There is evidence too that clinical outcomes can be
improved by more frequent dialysis, which is more achievable and manageable when dialysing at
home. Last autumn, NHS Kidney Care published Improving Choice: Listening to Patient Stories,
which featured patients talking about their experiences of home dialysis, and helped to illustrate
the positive changes it can bring to life and health.
While preparing that report, it became apparent that living with home dialysis has a significant
impact on the patients’ partners and families. Some spoke of the confusing nature of their role as
carer, and others struggled with the responsibility of helping someone they love perform a
This report is intended to further explore the carer’s role, and to share with healthcare professionals
and other patients the realities of life for the family members and partners of those on home
dialysis. It contains a series of recommendations for healthcare teams – points to consider when
patients are moving onto home dialysis, which may help to improve the experience for those