People diagnosed with chronic kidney disease often find themselves changing from being a working member of society to being unable to continue working full-time, or even at all. This can place stress on the patient due to concerns of loss of income, insurance and the economic costs of care. Dialysis patients find further limitations on their time, affecting their ability to work and uncertainty over future planning.

Financial stress can become a heavy burden for patients with kidney disease as they withdraw from the working world. This can place stress on family relationships, since a previous breadwinner may become financially dependent on the rest of the family, creating further stresses.

Living with chronic kidney disease and being on dialysis does not mean the end of employment.

While it may be more difficult to maintain a full-time job as a dialysis patient, working may help to re-establish “normal life” and be a source of relief and comfort throughout the difficult journey of chronic kidney disease and dialysis. Dialysis can be isolating, so maintaining employment can reinforce social interactions through relationships with colleagues, and it can help to provide independence and a sense of control.

Many people on dialysis take a short-term leave of absence from work when they first start dialysis, but once they have gotten used to their dialysis treatments, they go back to work. Although it may be difficult, it is important to be honest and communicate with your employer so that you can make a plan that will accommodate your work commitments and your dialysis treatments. You and your employer may need to be flexible with your work schedule due to the time commitment and regimen of dialysis. Patients may occasionally encounter barriers to their continuing employment, based on misunderstanding of kidney disease and its therapies.

For more information related to working as a dialysis patient, visit the following website: www.davita.com

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