Shared Haemodialysis Care is taking some control of your dialysis care

Whilst we are used to having our healthcare provided when we go into hospital, we often feel better when we are supported to take an active role in helping to look after ourselves with support from the professionals.

If you need to have regular haemodialysis treatment in hospital or at a haemodialysis centre, you can choose to learn about, practice and even become an expert at doing some of the tasks for yourself. This is called Shared Care. 

By getting involved you can feel more independent.

Evidence gathered from haemodialysis patients who have been involved in Shared Haemodialysis Care shows that they: 

• Have a better understanding of their condition and treatment
• Feel more able to discuss their treatment with health care staff 
• Have more involvement in making decisions about their treatment
• Feel more confident and in control
• Feel more positive about attending for dialysis treatment

“From an initial position of feeling nervous and overwhelmed, patients transition to confidently managing aspects of their care and describe having a greater understanding of their Kidney disease and its treatment.” 

“The value of this approach where individuals gain expertise at their own pace, making choices that are right for them, contributes to a culture of shared decision making where the patient voice is heard and a team relationship thrives.”

- Tania Barnes, Shared Care Training Lead. 

What are the practical tasks patients can choose to get involved in?

 Any or all of the following:
 • Measuring own weight
 • Measuring own blood pressure and pulse
 • Measuring own temperature
 • Collecting equipment and setting up own dialysis machine
 • Preparing own dressing pack ready for putting on dialysis
 • Programming own details into the dialysis machine
 • Inserting or removing fistula needles or managing other access
 • Commencing, monitoring or discontinuing the dialysis procedure

These tasks will help you learn and feel more independent and involved. Anyone, regardless of age or ability, can get involved in some way if they want to. Healthcare staff are there either to carry out your dialysis care or to support you to learn about the tasks you have chosen to do yourself.

Understanding more about your own care might make you feel as if you want to learn more. However, even if you become an expert, you will always be supported by the nursing staff if you are doing Shared Care. Some dialysis units have a self-care unit. Here you can choose to be totally independent. Alternatively, you may like to dialyse at home. Talk to your dialysis staff if this is something you would like to do. 

What is important to know about Shared Haemodialysis Care?

• It is your choice to get involved in shared care and which tasks you wish to get involved with.
• Feeling in control comes from doing even a small task.
• You can choose to do more if you want to, or less if it doesn’t suit you.  
• You will always work in partnership with shared health care staff.
• It may lead to self-care and dialysis at home if that is something you would like to do, but it is not for everyone.

“It’s not as hard as you first think and the nurses are always there to support you. You get a feeling of accomplishment and it helps you learn more about your machine. I really enjoyed it.”

“I consider myself as part of the team treating my illness; my conversations with the rest of the team are a lot more productive.”  

Quotes from two patients from Sheffield and Middlesbrough. 

If you would like to find out more information about Shared Haemodialysis Care you should speak to your dialysis nurse.