Kidney disease and dialysis can be a very distressing experience, both physically and emotionally. Patients and families often feel like their lives have been flipped upside down, and that nothing will ever be the same. It may feel like life will never be normal again, but it is important to realize that…
While life may be different, it is possible to re-establish a “new normal.”
Creating this “new normal” will help make dialysis seem like it’s a part of daily life – rather than dialysis feeling like an intrusion and feeling that dialysis controls your life, it will feel like part of a daily routine, just like brushing your teeth and going to work.
Although dialysis can help patients feel better and live a healthier life, it certainly creates changes and limitations for patients and their families. Patients may find that they need to temporarily take time off work to get adjusted to their dialysis regimen, or they may feel that they need to stop working completely in order to focus all of their energy on their health.
Employment issues could result in financial concerns, which may place additional strain and burden on patients’ families.
Particularly on the patient’s partner who may need to become the main financial contributor. For more information about working and dialysis, click here.
Patients and families may also experience changes in their social life, partially because of the dietary restrictions that must be followed by patients.
Often, eating is a large part of socializing, but kidney disease and dialysis require patients to be cautious of what they eat. As a result, it is difficult to simply go to a restaurant and order anything off the menu, since patients need to monitor their diet and limit things like sodium, potassium, and phosphorus. This could lead to changes in social relationships, since patients and families may feel that it is easier to simply stay home so that they can cook their own food and adhere to the dietary restrictions. For more information about nutrition and kidney disease, click here.
In addition, in order for patients to maintain their health, it is important to adhere to the dialysis schedule to ensure that patients are receiving the appropriate quantity and quality of dialysis. As a result, patients and families may find that dialysis interferes with social activities, since patients may need to leave a social event early, or skip the event altogether, in order to be at a dialysis centre or at home by a specific time for their dialysis treatments. Patients and families sometimes find that life is now dependent on their dialysis schedule.
This can lead to feeling like they no longer have control over their lives because everything revolves around the dialysis schedule.
Patients may also experience changes in their social relationships because they may prefer to stay home rather than go out with friends due to feeling tired, or feeling generally unwell – this could lead patients to feel even more socially isolated than they already do from being on dialysis. Patients may feel like their friends don’t understand what they are going through, and they may prefer to not discuss their health issues with others, which could lead to further social isolation. For more information about social life and dialysis, click here.