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Our doctors have privileges at all regional units.  They work with you in choosing a home dialysis center.  You will tour several units prior to dialysis initiation as you meet the staff and even talk with some of the patients.  The team approach is pursued.

 

THE WHO, WHAT, WHERE AND HOW OF DIALYSIS
WHO ARE WE?
Once you have been diagnosed with Chronic Kidney Disease and are about to start hemodialysis, there are many questions that need to be answered.  Our mission statement “Is to provide a patient-focused medical service for those affected by chronic kidney disease”.  Our superior staff of professional medical doctors, nurses, technicians, dieticians and social workers will help patients by empowering family support and education, technical training, transplant options, and other options for care for those with CKD. 

 

HOW WILL YOU GET THERE? There are several options to consider for making transportation arrangements.

  • Many of our patients can drive themselves or rely on friends or family members to help assist them.
  • Some individuals, for a fee, can hire a driver to get  them back and forth
  • Religious or civic groups also have volunteers that will help if the patient is a member of their organization
  • Collier Area Transit works closely with all the dialysis facilities for those patients who are financially burdened.  They have a sliding fee for this service and our social worker will help assist the patient in completing an application for CAT. However, due to the high volume of patients, you may be put on a waiting list as your transportation is being coordinated with other participants.

 

HOW DO YOU COPE? The first year is the toughest.  Learning how to balance yourself and adjusting to this new lifestyle is like trying to land on a balance beam the first time out.  Dealing with CKD will pull you in many different directions than what you had planned your life to be.  It may have taken several years to get to this point, or with acute kidney failure, a matter of hours or days.  The main point is to strive to land on that balance beam so that you can get your life back to the original level of functioning.  Many other adjustments will need to be thought out; such as your emotional well-being, financial concerns, and career and lifestyle changes.  Providing for these changes is why we have a highly trained social worker who has the skills to aid you throughout your dialysis process.  She is there to understand and support you and your family and answer any questions you may have to get through the initial start up. 
We urge you to contact our support team of the doctors, nurses, patient care techs, dietitian and the socials worker.  We are here primarily for you, the patient.  We want you to “Tell Us How You Feel”.  We are here to listen and help.
Also, there are network activities that patients can attend via the many web-sites available.  Some of those are The Renal Support Network, the American Association of Kidney Patients, the National Kidney Foundation and local support groups. 

 

WHAT DO YOU NEED TO DO? Most importantly, you want to make sure that you have insurance coverage.  Speak with your insurance representative to make sure you are covered.  With the exception of original Medicare, before a person with CKD reaches the need for dialysis treatment, it is beneficial for them to contact the private medical insurance company to see whether that company has contracted with a particular dialysis facility.  (Your physician is able to have privileges at all of the local centers). 
Some questions you may want to ask are:

  • Does your physician have privileges at the facility of your choice
  • Does your insurance offer out-of-network benefits that would cover a preferred location
  • Are you willing to pay co-pays for uncovered charges
  • Are you prepared to pay for deductibles
  • If you have secondary coverage, will that company pay the Medicare deductible and co-pays
  • Medicare patients usually have coverage at any clinic
  • You may want to go visit the clinic to meet with the staff and find out if you feel comfortable that you will receive the best care possible.
  • Make sure the facility is clean
  • Use your network to talk to other patients

One of the keys to excellent care is the emphasis that a patient actively participates as the primary team member in their own care.   In other words, voice your concerns.   We can only do better by listening to our patients. 

 

CAN YOU TRAVEL? Many people who are on dialysis enjoy the ability to travel safely away from home.  With approval by your physician, traveling is one of those areas that will help bring you back to the balance of your life and we support it, for your well being and quality of life.  With the help of the dialysis staff, we will try and arrange dialysis treatments for you.  We call this ‘transient dialysis’.  Many patients find a suitable clinic at their destination by going online to www.dialysisfinder.com
Of course there will be more preparation time needed, so here are some pointers.

  • Make sure the facility you chose accepts transient visitors
  • Give yourself at least one month’s notice to departure
  • It may be a challenge to find a clinic depending on the time of year you are traveling.  So keep this in mind when making travel plans.
  • The earlier you plan, the better chance you have of getting the facility of your choice.
  • Check again with your insurance company to make sure you are covered for that unit and that they will pay out of network and deductibles, if any.

 

WHAT HAPPENS NOW? Keep in mind that you can stay healthy once you start your dialysis treatments.  What is important is that you follow the full course of treatments. 

  • Make sure to come to every treatment and stay the full time necessary and make sure you are getting enough dialysis
  • Follow your prescribed diet, including the restriction of fluids.
  • Listen to the dietician about limiting salt, potassium and phosphorus.
  • Make sure your blood pressure is under control and keep your cholesterol to acceptable levels
  • Get as much exercise as possible to manage your stress and emotional health
  • Stay connected with your local support teams, family,  and friends
  • Check with your co-workers to work out schedules so you can continue to go to work and receive dialysis treatments
  • Stay in touch with the social worker and talk to her about your concerns.