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Hemodialysis Schedules

What are hemodialysis schedules?

  • Hemodialysis (he-mo-di-AL-i-sis) schedules are sets of dates you and your caregiver plan to have your hemodialysis sessions. Hemodialysis is a procedure that helps clean up your blood because your kidneys are not working properly. Normally, your kidneys remove excess water, and unwanted chemicals and wastes from your blood. You may need hemodialysis for conditions where your kidneys are damaged and do not function well. These conditions may include acute (sudden) or chronic (long term) kidney failure. Kidney failure causes harmful wastes to build up in your body, leading to a rise in your blood pressure. It may also cause your body to retain excess fluid and not make enough red blood cells.
  • Before planning for hemodialysis schedules, you may need to have surgery to make an arteriovenous fistula or place an arteriovenous graft in your arm. An arteriovenous fistula, also called AVF, is a surgical connection of an artery directly to a vein. An arteriovenous graft, also called an AVG, is a man made tube that connects an artery directly to a vein. The AVF and AVG act as bridges for blood going into the hemodialysis machine, and back to your body. After this, you and your caregiver may plan a schedule that works best for you depending on your condition. As your body's condition improves or worsens, your caregiver may adjust the hemodialysis schedule as needed.

Where can I have hemodialysis?

You and your caregiver will talk about where you want to have hemodialysis. You may both work out what is easier for you and your family. Your caregiver will advise you where it is best to have hemodialysis, depending on your condition. You may have hemodialysis in any of the following:

  • Hospitals or hemodialysis centers: These places have the equipment, rooms, and supplies for hemodialysis. They also have caregivers watching over you to make sure you are OK while having hemodialysis. Caregivers also check the hemodialysis machines when alarms or buzzers go off. They see and correct problems so you can continue your hemodialysis.
  • Home: Your caregiver may not always be there to help you out when you choose to have hemodialysis in your home. Your caregiver will explain the things needed before you have hemodialysis in your home. You will need to get training to make sure you can handle it on your own. Your partner may also need to get training to help you during your hemodialysis. Your caregiver will also show you what to do in case alarms on the machine go off. He may tell you what symptoms you may watch out for, and what to do in case they appear. You may also need to have the plumbing and electrical wires in your home fixed to make the hemodialysis machine work well.

What hemodialysis schedules can I choose from?

You and your caregiver will work together to pick the right hemodialysis schedule. Your caregiver will advise you about the proper hemodialysis schedule depending on your health. The right hemodialysis schedule allows you to spend more time with your family. It also should not affect your working hours and leave enough time for your usual activities. You may choose from any of the following:

  • The usual hemodialysis schedule has three sessions a week, with each session lasting from 4 to 6 hours. This is usually done in a hospital or a special hemodialysis center.
  • Short daily hemodialysis has six sessions a week, with each session lasting from 2 to 3 hours. This may be done in a hospital, in a hemodialysis center, or in your home.
  • Daily nocturnal hemodialysis has six sessions a week, with each session lasting from 8 to 10 hours. This may also be done in a hospital, a hemodialysis center, or in your home. This is done at night, while you sleep.

Where can I find more information?

Contact the following for more information:

  • American Association of Kidney Patients
    3505 E. Frontage Rd, Suite 315
    Tampa , FL 33607-1796
    Phone: 1- 800 - 749-2257
    Web Address:
  • National Kidney Foundation
    30 East 33rd Street
    New York , NY 10016
    Phone: 1- 212 - 889-2210
    Phone: 1- 800 - 622-9010
    Web Address:

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.