Community Dialysis Units patient & family guide

A guide for patients and families visiting Providence Health Care's Community Dialysis Units.

Nurse looks at her monitor as a patient lies in a bed beside her

During your treatment

  • Once we bring you in to the treatment area, it can take 30 minutes to start your treatment.
  • Tell us if you do not feel well before we connect you to the hemodialysis machine. The nurse will want do a detailed check of your health.
  • Wash your hands with soap for at least 45 seconds. Remember the best way to stop the spread of infection is to wash your hands.
  • Wash your access site before your treatment. If your access site is in your leg, use the washroom to wash the area.
  • During dialysis, clean your hands with alcohol hand rub whenever you need to touch your access site.
  • Bring the personal items you need before you settle into your chair.
  • A nurse will check your heart rate, temperature, blood pressure. They will do twice: while you are standing and while you are sitting.
  • Leave the blood pressure cuff on your arm so we can check your blood pressure during your treatment.
  • Make sure you can always reach the patient call bell.

No matter what time you start, you must be off your machine by the finish time. Please plan for another 30 minutes at the end of hemodialysis. This is to finish treatment and for us to make sure you are well enough to go home.

Most of our hemodialysis stations have a television with basic cable. Sometimes our televisions are not available. This can be due to an emergency with one of our patients, or because the television needs repair. It is always a good idea to bring something else to help you pass the time (e.g. a book or a tablet).

After your treatment

At the end of your hemodialysis, and for those with fistulas or grafts, your nurse removes the needles. To stop bleeding after your treatment, the needle sites must have pressure on them. We teach you how to hold pressure over the needle sites for at least ten minutes. We encourage you to hold your needle site rather than use a device because it is safer.

Before you leave

  • We check your temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure. We check your heart rate and blood pressure while you are lying down and then when you are standing.
  • We make sure your fistula or graft is still working. We teach you how to do this.
  • Weigh yourself again.
  • Always wash your hands with soap. This helps stop the spread of any germs you might have contacted during the treatment.
  • Clear your personal items into your locker.
  • Carry some packets of gauze with you in case your needle sites start to bleed after you leave the unit.
  • Have someone drive you home after the first few treatments. You might get very tired after hemodialysis, so it is safer if someone drives you.

For your safety, we do not let you leave until you are feeling better. If you do not recover right away, we might arrange for you to go to the hospital for more care.