You’ll have a whole team of trained health care providers to help you live well with kidney failure. The following people may be part of your health care team:
Nephrologist. A doctor who specializes in kidney health and oversees your treatment.
Dialysis nurse. A dialysis nurse will monitor your in-center dialysis and will see you monthly if you’re doing home or peritoneal dialysis. The nurse will make sure you’re taking your medicines correctly and help you find ways to lessen the side effects of dialysis. If you do home hemodialysis or peritoneal dialysis, your dialysis nurse will teach you how to set up your treatment, take care of the equipment, and watch for infections or other problems.
Transplant coordinator. A specially trained nurse who will be your point of contact, arrange your appointments, and teach you what to do before and after the transplant.
Renal dietitian. A renal dietitian is trained to help people with kidney failure. Your dietitian will help you make choices about what to eat and drink to help your treatment work better so you’ll feel better.
Social worker. Dialysis clinics and transplant centers have a social worker who works with people who have ESRD. Your renal social worker can help you find answers to problems such as
►keeping a job or changing jobs
►getting help paying for treatments
►finding services to help with transportation or chores around the house
►finding counseling services to deal with family problems
Family and friends. Allowing your friends and family to help and sharing news about your kidney disease can make a big difference in how you feel. Studies show that being connected to other people can help your health.
A strong support system of family and friends can make it easier to deal with health problems and life changes. Be sure to spend time with friends or keep in touch with them by phone or email. Stay involved in activities that interest you.
You. Taking charge of your own medical care can help you feel more in control of your life. Take all your medicines and keep all your appointments. Work with your health care team to learn about different kidney failure treatments, and let them know what kind of treatment you want. Ask questions when your health care provider tells you something you don’t understand. If you choose home hemodialysis or peritoneal dialysis, tell your dialysis nurse about any problems you have with equipment or supplies. If you have a transplant, talk with your transplant coordinator if your medicines cause side effects. You are your own best advocate.