Hemodialysis is a way of removing toxins/waste products, extra salts and extra fluids from your blood when your kidneys are no longer able too. It helps to maintain proper chemical balance such as potassium, sodium, Calcium, phosphorus and helps to keep your blood pressure under control.
A hemodialysis machine pumps blood from your vascular access though a special filter to clean the blood. The cleaned blood is then returned to your body again through the vascular access. Only a small amount of blood is taken out of the body at a time. This typically takes several hours and requires several treatments per week.
Your Care Team
- Treatments are performed by hemodialysis nurses
- Inter-professional team members are available on-site
- Patients are regularly seen by a nephrologist
Hemodialysis typically requires several treatments per week. Patients will be scheduled to receive hemodialysis three days per week: Monday, Wednesday and Friday or Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Treatment may be scheduled in the morning (7:30 a.m.), afternoon (12:30 p.m.) or evening (5:30 p.m.).
You may receive a temporary schedule when you start hemodialysis. This schedule is based on availability and may change on a weekly basis. Please check with the team lead.
Each visit is 5 hours on average. Your nephrologists will decide how often and how long you will need dialysis based on:
- The results of your monthly blood tests
- Your body size
- The amount of fluid retained between hemodialysis treatments (measured by your weight gain)
- How well your fistula, graft, or catheter is working
- Best practice standards of care and current research
This may change over time. Your doctor may recommend shorter or longer treatments.
Some patients are eligible for nocturnal dialysis, a longer, slower form of hemodialysis that takes place at night while you sleep in a bed in the MGH dialysis unit. Click here for more information about nocturnal dialysis.
- The clinic has chairs or beds and sometimes stretchers available for patients receiving treatment.
- One pillow and one blanket are provided for each patient.
- A television and speaker pillow may be available for patients.
- Public Wifi is available for use.
No visitors are allowed to stay in the unit. Nurses will call essential visitors back to the unit if needed. One essential visitor is permitted due to limited space.