Home Dialysis Care Partners: Your Role and Wellbeing
Kidney disease is life-changing for your loved one – and you. It’s completely normal to feel overwhelmed by the idea of becoming a home dialysis care partner. This is a big commitment, and one that should not be taken on without awareness of the responsibilities.
You probably have a lot of questions about the role of a care partner. What’s the “right” way to provide care? How will I balance my loved one’s wellbeing with my own? What if I can’t manage the stress? It’s important to give yourself the time to learn and find these answers as you go. To get you started, here are a few key things you should know about being a home dialysis care partner and taking care of yourself.
What does a home dialysis care partner do?
Your responsibilities as a care partner will depend on your loved one’s specific health needs, but typical responsibilities include:
- Setting up the home dialysis station, including equipment setup and maintenance of a comfortable dialysis-friendly area.
- Ensuring home dialysis treatments go smoothly by being present and assisting during the treatments. You and your loved one must communicate to determine who is most comfortable doing each step.
- Being an active participant in their health care. Your level of influence and involvement should be discussed between you and your loved one, and may include transporting them to appointments, keeping track of their medications, taking notes during doctor visits, and being involved in their health care decisions.
- Making sure their basic needs are met. You may do your loved one’s grocery shopping, prepare their meals, clean their home, or arrange support for these tasks.
- Providing emotional support and love.
Stress management solutions for care partners
Your role as a care partner is important, but you cannot forget to care for yourself, too. You’re probably thinking that’s easier said than done, but there are many things you can do to find balance.
- Set aside time each day to do the things you enjoy.
- Communicate! Having an open dialogue with your loved one allows you to address uncomfortable situations, stresses, and needs.
- Maintain your active and healthy lifestyle. Make sure you’re getting an adequate amount of sleep, eating healthy, and exercising regularly.
- Consider training a second care partner. A second care partner can help share responsibilities, give you breaks when you need them, and provide emotional support.
- Build a support network of individuals you feel comfortable talking to when you feel overwhelmed.
Don’t forget: you’re doing the best you can
It can be easy to get caught up in the daily responsibilities and stresses, but it’s important to remember you’re not in this alone. Mistakes will happen. Stress will happen. But your home dialysis training will give you the confidence to know what to do when problems arise. Your support network will keep you grounded and make sure you’re taking care of yourself, too.
Remember, it’s okay to be scared the first few days or weeks of home treatment. This is new for both you and your loved one. You certainly don’t have to be a home dialysis pro on the first day – allow yourself the time to learn the process. Our team at Cincinnati Home Dialysis is here for you every step of the way and always available when you have questions.