Our kidneys perform several critical functions. They clean our blood, remove excess fluid from our bodies, and produce hormones needed for other important bodily functions. When our kidneys are unable to perform these functions, they can fail, resulting in the need for hemodialysis.
Infections (including those affecting the bloodstream) are the second leading cause of death among hemodialysis patients. As a dialysis patient, there several things you can do to ensure your own safety and to protect yourself from acquiring a healthcare-associated infection (HAI) related to your hemodialysis treatment.
- Ask doctors and nurses to explain why the central line is needed, how long it will be in place, and if you can use a fistula or graft for dialysis treatment.
- Make sure that all healthcare providers clean their hands with soap and water or alcohol-based hand rub before and after caring for you or your vascular access site.
- Inform a nurse or doctor if the area around the central line is sore or red, is draining (pus), or if the bandage becomes wet or dirty.
It is important that you are informed of your risks as well as your available prevention tools. The following patient resources will help dialysis patients be better prepared about what to expect before, during, and after treatment.
- CDC Patient Pocket Guide: 6 Tips to Prevent Dialysis Infections
- Dialysis Patients Speak: A Conversation About the Importance of AV Fistulas
- Dialysis Patients Speak: Preventing Infections
- Hemodialysis and Viral Hepatitis
- National Kidney Foundation
- American Association of Kidney Patients
- Renal Support Network
- National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases