In-Home Dialysis: why one Sanford patient says it's given him his life back

Published: Jul. 29, 2019 at 10:33 AM CDT
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According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 3.7 million people in the U.S. are estimated to have chronic kidney disease. When it comes to treatment plans, most patients visit an outpatient center, where they will spend most of their day going through blood work and flushing their kidneys. However, Sanford is wanting patients to know about a different option, where they could do the treatments independently.

"I got diagnosed with type two diabetes 25 years ago and probably... four years ago I was diagnosed, five years ago, I was diagnosed with kidney failure," says Sanford patient David Ritchie.

When Ritchie heard his diagnosis, it wasn't easy to hear.

"When somebody says transplant, you think, "Oh my. I'm going to die." Ya know? Those are the things that go through your head," says Ritchie.

But doctors explained how in-home dialysis would allow him to do his treatments from the comfort of his own home. Patients will go through a course, making sure they are comfortable using the machine before being left to do it own their own.

Even though it may sound intimidating, Danielle Graham who is a Registered Nurse with Sanford says that the program has many benefits.

"They do it more frequently. They tend to feel a little bit better. They have better outcomes. Less hospitalizations. Sometimes smaller amounts of medications. All around people just tend to feel quite a bit better when they do choose a home modality versus going to the center," says Graham.

For Ritchie, he can do his treatment in his sleep. Literally.

"At 7, 8, 9 O'clock, depending on when I want to start the program. I set up a couple of bags into the machine and then I just plug. I have a port in my stomach here and just plug in and turn the machine on and go to bed," says Ritchie.

And when that morning alarm goes off, Ritchie says, ""I wake up in the morning. I'm done with dialysis. I feel like a million bucks. I have energy again. I can go about my day."

David encourages patients who are active like him to consider in-home dialysis. This plan allows him to keep up with his hunting and fishing trips. But, most importantly, he's able to move freely throughout his home.

Ritchie, "I've got 15 feet, so I can walk around most of the house. I can get to the important things, the kitchen and the bathroom."

Reporter, "Late night snack? no problem *laughter*"

Ritchie, "No problem, no problem."

Sanford will have a Welcome Home Kidney Care program on July 30th at 6:30 p.m. Patients will get the chance to talk with other patients who are using in-home dialysis, along with doctors, nurses and social workers.

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