March is National Kidney Month. While In-Home Caregivers working with Abby Services have assisted clients undergoing dialysis, we wanted to first highlight healthy habits to promote kidney health.
The following has been adapted from the U.S. Department of Health.
- Strive for a healthy weight. If you are overweight or obese, losing even a small amount of weight can improve blood pressure readings.
- Get a good night’s rest. Aim for 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night.
- Choose healthy food and beverages. Selecting fruits and vegetables, lean meat, whole grains, and other heart-healthy foods can help your kidney health.
- Quit smoking. You have heard it before, if you smoke, take steps to quit.
- Manage stress and make physical activity part of your routine. Engage in healthy stress-reducing activities. Strive to get at least 30 minutes or more of physical activity each day.
- Take medications as directed by your physician. Your doctor may prescribe blood pressure-lowering medications that are effective in slowing the development of kidney disease.
Unfortunately, some individuals, regardless of the preventative steps taken, require dialysis. Often Dialysis can be managed independently or with the support of a loved one. However, some individuals require additional support. That’s where Abby Services can help. If you or your loved one requires assistance during dialysis we can help. With the support of a private caregiver you can receive the treatment you need in a safe and effective setting. The following tips are adapted from Fresenius Dialysis and provide practical tips to support those undergoing dialysis, their loved ones, and caregivers.
- Get it in writing: Private caregivers may have to work with their patients’ treatment team to write down important information including followup appointments, details about dialysis sessions, or other important information. You may need to write down questions your patient wants to ask their dietitian, social worker, nurse, dialysis technician or nephrologist.
- Stick to the schedule: Consistency is important with Dialysis. As a caregiver, it is imperative to help clients maintain a consistent dialysis schedule. Be sure to arrive 15 minutes early for each appointment, so your patient has time to get ready for their full treatment. Missing even a few minutes of one treatment can make dialysis less effective and have a negative impact on their health.
- Keep important information on hand: Be sure you have important info written down and available if necessary including all medications and Doctor’s information. Emergencies can happen quickly and this information can be important.
- Know Their Limits: Even though inactive while receiving dialysis, the process can leave a patient fatigued. It is not a good idea to schedule activities on dialysis days.
- Stay Active: Patients on dialysis do better when they move around and stay active. Go for a walk with the person you care for as often as possible. Encourage them to stay engaged with their work or hobbies. Studies show that people on dialysis do better when they stay active.
- Every dialysis center is different: Unless your patient actively needs your assistance many dialysis centers prefer to have only patients in the treatment area. Bde sure to ask staff what they would prefer and how you can help.
- Track Symptoms: As a caregiver, you can help your patients track their symptoms and share this feedback with dialysis staff. Flu-like symptoms, such as feeling tired or weak and having chills, are common for people on dialysis. You may notice they sleep more or are more forgetful. These symptoms are most often due to anemia—a shortage of red blood cells—and can be treated. Be sure to keep the nephrologist and treatment team informed about how the person you care for is doing.