Thriving on Home Hemodialysis: Tips from 5 Inspiring Patients
Five patients managing their hemodialysis at home with Tablo describe four key benefits that keep them motivated, fitting dialysis around their lives and staying out of the clinic.
Managing your own home hemodialysis week after week may seem like a daunting responsibility. For a large and growing number of patients around the U.S., the benefits – enabled by the easy to learn and use Tablo® Hemodialysis System – are worth it. After speaking with several experienced patients and care partners who offered their advice on how to stay committed to succeeding at home, we heard four main themes. Hint: they’re all about what you do when you’re off the machine.
#1: Independence is Everything
If you’ve ever had to travel to a dialysis clinic several days a week for your treatments, on a rigid schedule and the potential for exposure to COVID or other illnesses, you know how stressful and disempowering it can be. For many patients, the flexibility and freedom to treat at home, safely and on their own schedule, makes a huge difference in their quality of life. Here’s what two patients have to say:
“Since starting Tablo, I’ve been blessed to be able to build a life around what matters most: my family, my music career, my advocacy work. Treating on my own schedule has enabled me to stay positive, and be there for my wife and kids. The difference I see with Tablo versus other home hemodialysis machines is that you can tell that it was made by a company and team that really wants to understand the patient, our needs and our life, instead of acting like they know everything already about what we want. They want us to get back to doing the things we love, and designed an intuitive technology to support that.”
“Tablo has been a game changer for sure. I’m usually up and running after treatment. I can do what I need to do. If I want to go play 18 holes of golf, I can do that. Tablo has opened up a lot of my free time, and I can be active and present with my family. That wasn’t possible when I was sitting in a hospital bed.”
He also highly recommends Tablo to other patients who might be on the fence about home hemodialysis. “You’re going to get a quality of life back that I don’t think you realize how much you missed it, until you regain it. It unlocks a level of independence that I dismissed early on, because I figured, I’m on dialysis, and the perception is that your life is essentially over. And that’s definitely not the case with Tablo.”
Because of his desire to manage his treatments at home, Conor was the first patient in the U.S. to make a direct transition from acute dialysis on Tablo in the hospital to home hemodialysis on Tablo, in just seven days, without ever needing to step foot in a dialysis center.
Joseph & Sima
In-center dialysis was a cold, impersonal and frightening experience for Joseph and his wife and care partner Sima. The inflexible, often very-early-morning schedule they were on felt like a punishment, and traveling back and forth to the clinic was time-consuming. The whole experience was difficult and dehumanizing for Joseph, and by late last year, he was not in a good place mentally or physically. “He didn’t want to go to treatment anymore, and our children and I, and other family and friends, were trying to convince him to keep going,” says Sima.
It was at that pivotal time that Joseph’s nephrologist urged him to consider home hemodialysis with Tablo, as he felt he would be a perfect candidate. “He told us the technology was excellent and easy to learn and use, and that it would allow Joseph to feel better. He said we would be able to concentrate on the time he’s not on the machine, on his quality of life,” says Sima. Nearly two years ago, Joseph began his journey into home hemodialysis. With support from his wife and his nephrologist, he is thriving at home with Tablo.
#2: More Time to Do What I Enjoy
Achieving a high quality of life and having the time and energy to do the activities you enjoy while on dialysis is the entire point, right? Two patients describe from their own experiences how home hemodialysis frees up time for the important things in life:
Melvin & Cleo
Melvin, with help from his wife and care partner Cleo, treats on his Tablo four days a week, three hours a day. They run his dialysis at any time that works for their schedules, with weekends off. Previously, when he was using a different home hemodialysis machine, he was treating five days a week, three and a half hours a day, and additional time and effort were required to prepare and lift eight heavy bags of dialysate for each treatment. “Now on Tablo, after treatments are done, we can just move on with our day. You have more time to do what you want to do,” says Melvin.
Joseph & Sima
Joseph is treating four days a week, four hours a day, and Sima says that he is doing much better than he was before Tablo. “It has provided him with the opportunity for a quality life, and for that we are extremely humbled and grateful. Joseph is able to once again enjoy our children and grandchildren, he enjoys reading his beloved books, and we are able to go on walks and enjoy healthy meals together. He feels he is contributing to the world, it’s a big difference,” says Sima.
#3: A Support System Makes It Easier to Choose Home Hemodialysis
For all patients managing their kidney disease and dialysis at home, having a family or friend support system is critical for long-term success and quality of life (a trained care partner is also a prerequisite for going home with Tablo). Here’s what one inspiring couple has to say:
Sebastian & Liz
Liz is care partner to her husband, Sebastian, who was paralyzed while serving in the U.S. Army. She handles all aspects of his home hemodialysis and care. Here, she offers advice about her experience with Tablo at home and her self-care routine:
“Yes, I was terrified to do Sebastian’s dialysis at first. But don’t get freaked out, give yourself a bit of time, you can do this. You do the same routine each time,” says Liz.
As a full-time caregiver, Liz has a personal care routine that helps her feel her best. The key is taking care of herself and staying active, with swimming, bike riding, Pilates, tai chi and choir singing. “I try to start every day with a workout, then I might run some errands. Then I help get Sebastian up, and we take our day from there … being very closely connected to my husband, what helps him, helps me. Our lives are better now than before we started doing dialysis at home,” she says. Adds Sebastian: “I have three beautiful daughters, a beautiful wife, a really nice life, and that’s what’s important to me.”
Watch the brief “Care Partner Perspectives on Home Dialysis with Tablo” video above
#4: A Positive Attitude Makes All the Difference
A positive mindset is as critical for patients and their care partners who are new to home hemodialysis as it is to those with experience – it’s the resilience you need for building and maintaining confidence. It is also an important buffer against the inevitable difficult days that come with this diagnosis. Here are some thoughts from one inspiring Tablo home dialysis care partner and two patients:
Melvin & Cleo
With her caring and positive spirit, Cleo was confident that she could perform Melvin’s cannulation at home. “It’s not difficult. You might think it’s a little scary to place the needles, but during the training they show you exactly what to do. You just pick out your areas on the fistula, sanitize very well, then just insert. I also rotate the access sites, which has helped his fistula stay healthy over the three and half years that he has been on dialysis,” she says proudly.
“To my fellow CKD warriors: Every morning, take a look at your attitude, and your gratitude. Love that person you see in the mirror. Every day is another chance to WIN. Be assured that your best life is ahead of you!”
“My philosophy is, move on with life and enjoy it. It’s all mental. Life is about what you can offer. Life can be wonderful if you make it wonderful. Don’t ever give up. And keep fit as much as possible.”
Interested in home dialysis with Tablo?
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* Tablo Hemodialysis System Disclaimer:
Results may vary. Keep in mind that all treatment and outcome results are specific to the individual patient. Please consult your physician for a complete list of indications, warnings, precautions, adverse events, clinical results, and other important medical information. It is important that you discuss the potential risks, complications, and benefits of this product with your doctor prior to receiving treatment, and that you rely on your physician’s judgment. Only your doctor can determine whether you are a suitable candidate for this treatment.