Dialysis At Home? Davita Opens Training Facility In Fort Wayne

By Maureen Mespell
By John W. Davis

April 5, 2011 Updated Oct 28, 2013 at 12:32 AM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana’s NewsCenter) -- It's a life saving medical procedure that can now be done from the comfort of your own home.

A ribbon cutting ceremony was held Tuesday at the new Davita Home Dialysis office at 3121 East State Blvd. in Fort Wayne.

Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry and dozens of Davita employees attended the ceremony.

Davita provides care by delivering dialysis services and educational training to patients with chronic kidney failure and end stage renal disease.

Twenty jobs have been created so far, with more expected in the future.

Meanwhile, Indiana's NewsCenter used the ceremony as an opportunity to learn more about home dialysis.

Workers explained that home dialysis works the same way as going to a dialysis center, which is called in-center dialysis.

A machine filters toxins from your blood.

However, instead of a nurse overseeing the procedure, the patient and a loved one, perform your own dialysis, with a portable machine.

Meanwhile, there is growing scientific evidence that home dialysis is better for kidney failure patients than traditional in-center dialysis.

One reason is that your blood is filtered about six times a week during home dialysis, compared to only three times a week at a dialysis center.

That means most patients spend about half the time per session.

Doctors are discovering that because patients spend less time and blood is being filtered twice as often, it is easier to recover from the procedure, patients report having much more energy.

"Certainly over the next several years, we will learn that people who are dialyzing with this kind of machine, they're healthier and they're living longer," added Dr. Irfran Munir, who is a Kidney Specialist with Nephrology Associates of Northern Indiana.

Workers told Indiana's NewsCenter some patients begin feeling healthier after just one week of home dialysis.

"Peoples blood pressure medication needs are lessened, so people need less medication," said Davita Home Therapy Program Manager Renee Nicholson.

"They feel better, they're feeling more energetic and they're able to do their regular activities of their live that they enjoy most," Nicholson, who is also a Registered Nurse.

Meanwhile, blood dialysis, also known as hemodialysis, is not the only option for home dialysis.

Another option is called peritoneal dialysis.

That is a daily process, where a catheter is placed in your abdomen, and special solution is used to absorb all the toxins from your body.

According to Davita officials, about 450 people in the Fort Wayne area are currently on dialysis.

However, home dialysis is not for everyone.

Home dialysis patients must have another person present when performing dialysis for safety reasons.

Meanwhile, Davita officials are hopeful a few dozen people will begin using home dialysis in the Fort Wayne area in the next 12 months.

Medical professionals told Indiana's NewsCenter that traditional dialysis is an exhausting process.

They said patients that are still a part of the workforce will benefit the most from home dialysis.

They can do it before or after work for two to three hours, quickly recover, allowing them to maintain active lifestyles and employment.

Davita officials said most patients will see no difference in the cost of the service.

Insurance providers, like Medicare, are charged about a similar amount of money for home dialysis or traditional in-center dialysis.

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