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Home dialysis machine now available to local patients

By Staff | Feb 21, 2011

An at home dialysis machine is improving the quality of life for patients due to more treatments being administered in less amounts of time.
Sarah Long, a home dialysis training nurse at DaVita Cape Coral South, said the Nxstage System One enables the patients to do dialysis at home at their convenience.
“It is very simplified for the user,” she said. “It is very easy to use.”
She explained that when a patient goes to a dialysis center they are a locked into a specific time three times a week, which can be very inconvenient for those who have to work.
Cape Coral resident Walt Tumiati, 66, began dialysis in March of last year. He explained that he would have to travel to the DaVita Center on Monday, Wednesday and Friday every week, which could keep him there for more than four hours at a time.
Tumiati said going to the center three times a week was very hard on his body due to the amount of fluid they had to pull “away from my body.”
The opportunity for a patient to have dialysis done at home is typically recommended by his/her kidney doctor. Long conducts an interview with the individual to make sure they have a partner to help them, along with finding out if they like to travel. She explained that the interview is held to make sure the NxStage System One device is a good fit for them.
“When you come in the center, everything is done for you,” Long said. “When you go home, you are taking on that responsibility.”
Long explained that the patients who are a good fit have to go through four weeks of training, Monday through Friday, before they can take the NxStage System One device home.
“At the time they are training they are also getting their dialysis treatment,” she said.
The training provides information on how to set the machine up, monitor their treatment, as well as discontinuing their treatment and how to clean up.
“By the end of training they are doing it and I am just overseeing it,” Long said about the treatments.
On Aug. 13 of last year, Tumiati was introduced to the NxStage System One portable home hemodialysis device.
The reason behind him wanting to learn more about the at-home machine is because he is an avid boater who enjoys taking a lot of boat trips. Tumiati said he has been boating in saltwater for 25 years, with prior boating on lakes and rivers up north.
“I’m a long-time boater,” he said.
He participated in five weeks of training with his wife before he brought the machine home to administer his own treatments.
“She is my partner,” Tumiati said. “You can’t do it by yourself … in case something happens you have to have someone here.”
The machine Tumiati used during the training is the same piece of equipment he is using at home. Now he does dialysis six times a week, with Saturday being his only scheduled day off.
“The more dialysis they receive the better they feel,” Long said. “Their fluid control greatly improves.”
An individual’s blood pressure is also better controlled through more dialysis, Long explained, which also increase their appetite.
Long said those who have dialysis done five or six times a week “improves so much” of their quality of life. She explained that she can definitely see a difference from when they begin their four weeks of training to when they come back for their monthly visits.
“It is a whole new person,” Long said.
Tumiati said the nice thing about doing dialysis at home is he can do it whenever he wishes.
“There is no set time,” he said, adding that the only rule is you have to have 12 hours in between treatments.
Long said the doctor orders the amount of time their patient has to do their treatments at home, which is typically less than if it was done in a center.
Since Tumiati is spending less than three hours on the machine, he is feeling a lot better. He expressed that he is feeing more natural because the machine is taking less fluid away from his body.
Long said once they are attached to the machine, an internal clock does a routine check to make sure it is functioning correctly every half hour.
Tumiati explained that every day he faxes a flow sheet with his recorded readings during his dialysis treatment to Long. Once a month, he travels to the center for a conference to make sure everything is going according to plan.
The NxStage System One machine will travel with the Tumiati’s for the first time on a four-day boat trip to Sarasota during the first week of March.
“It is good for patients who want to take control over their disease,” Long said.
Tumiati encourages people who are on dialysis to definitely look into the home hemodialysis treatment because the support staff is unbelievable.
“You feel so much better,” he said about doing the home treatment. “You are not coming home feeling wiped out.”
DaVita Cape Coral South Dialysis is located at 3046 Del Prado Blvd., South.