Home dialysis: what to do during a power outage


We’ve seen a wave of intense storms across the tristate this summer. These storms can knock out power for a few minutes up to a few hours. For many home dialysis patients, the risk of a power outage during treatment is a real threat, but one that can be planned for and managed.

Before a disruption

Make sure you contact your electric company to let them know you perform dialysis treatments at home. These companies maintain a priority reconnection list for service disruptions and may be able to restore your power first.

Be sure to keep your emergency kit stocked and practice your emergency preparedness plan on a regular basis. Check out our last post for more info on developing an emergency plan and kit.

You may consider purchasing a backup generator to supply power to your home dialysis unit. These can be expensive, but they do provide peace of mind knowing you can continue performing a treatment during an outage.

During a power outage

When your home’s electricity goes out, take a deep breath and try not to panic. Remember that you’ve prepared for this and know what to do.

Grab the flashlight you keep at your home dialysis station so you can see. If the power doesn’t come back on within a few minutes, you can return the blood manually using the hand crank that came with your machine. You can typically find it on the back or side of the dialysis machine.

During an outage, the air detectors may not be working, so watch the venous line carefully. Clamp the line right away if you see any air. If air does enter the blood return line, call 911 and lie flat on your left side while help is on the way.

After disconnecting from your home dialysis machine

If your power doesn’t come back on within a few hours, call your Cincinnati Home Dialysis care team to make other treatment arrangements. Your team can help you identify the nearest dialysis center with power.

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