U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Lesson 6: Living with kidney failure

Lesson Objectives

By the end of each session, participants will be able to:

  • Identify that diet recommendations and medications may change when dialysis treatment begins
  • Identify that Medicare has a special program that may pay for the cost of treatment

Session Starter

What questions do you still have about kidney failure and treatment?
Is there anything you would do differently as a result of these classes?

Topics & Points To Cover

  • What to expect once you start dialysis
    • Will take time to feel better (won't happen after first treatment)
    • Medications may change
  • Basic diet changes for dialysis
    • More protein is needed due to protein losses during dialysis
    • Maintain low sodium and phosphorus
    • May need potassium and fluid restrictions with hemodialysis
    • Dietitian is part of dialysis team
  • Financial concerns
    • Employment and rehabilitation
    • Cost of treatments
    • Cost of medications
    • Transportation
    • Social worker is part of dialysis team
    • If self - employed
  • Quality of life
    • Sexual function
  • Transplantation
    • Waiting for transplant
    • If transplant fails

Sample Outcome Assessment Questions

  • How is your diet likely to change when you go on dialysis?
  • True of False: The Medicare program covers the cost of treatment for kidney failure for most people?

Other outcomes:

  • Patient lists three ways that his/her diet will change and two ways medication use will change when dialysis begins.
  • Patient explains that Medicare will pay for the cost of treatment for kidney failure.
  • Patient states what he/she will do with information from today's session.

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Page last updated: March 1, 2012

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