SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – One in seven people in the United States have chronic kidney disease, and nearly half a million people depend on dialysis to keep them alive. Most of those patients go to a clinic three times a week for treatment.
A group of doctors is pushing for home care and quality of life.
Tod Johnson, 71, of Salt Lake City has a typical treatment schedule. He spends 4 hours on dialysis three times a week at Fresenius Kidney Care at 37th and State Street. He spends several more hours recovering from treatment.
“It’s pretty restrictive because I have to be here. Those three days are spent going to dialysis, getting the treatment, and recovering from treatment,” said Johnson.
Dr. Dinesh Chatoth is the Associate Chief Medical Officer of Fresenius Kidney Care. His company has 2,600 hundred clinics nationwide. He’s traveled from Atlanta to educate nurses and doctors on home dialysis in a 2-day workshop in Salt Lake.
He says a small number of patients are on home dialysis. Only about 12 percent.
“There is a shortage of docs who understand every aspect on how to prescribe at home dialysis,” said Chatoth.
ABC4 interviewed Terri of West Jordan a year ago. She’s on home dialysis. She described having more freedom and flexibility to schedule her own treatments when she wanted to while she waits for a transplant. Fatigue and recovery are cut down dramatically.
“Fatigue is reduced to less than one hour. Even more important blood pressure control is better, the fluid status is better. Hospitalization rate is better and heart muscle is less thicker with home dialysis,” said Chatoth.
There are a couple of options of home dialysis including treatment that can be done while you sleep. With home therapy treatments are done more times during the week but for shorter periods.
“I would say a much better quality of life then in-center dialysis.”
All things that sound good to Johnson.
“That’s definitely something I want to do,” said Johnson.
Most insurance covers home dialysis. When you add up the yearly cost of a patient on dialysis, Dr. Chatoth says home dialysis is cheaper.
He says home dialysis isn’t for everyone. He says medical professionals are welcome to attend the 2-day conference on home dialysis at the downtown Hilton through Wednesday.