Since the new year began, Ms. Bailey-Wilson has been counting down the days until spring rolls around.
Bailey-Wilson's family is planning to embark on a seven-day cruise, and she has already blocked off the week from her full-time job as a supervisor at a call center.
However, there's one important thing she needs to prepare for the trip. Bailey-Wilson, 49, is living with kidney failure and depends on dialysis in her daily life. She has dialyzed in-center for four years, but as 2023 started, she took on the challenge of moving her treatment into her own home.
Bailey-Wilson's main motivation to complete her switch to home dialysis was the ability to enjoy more freedom.
"The vacation was kind of my motivator, to be able to go on a trip and not have to leave to go to a treatment center," Bailey-Wilson said. "I want to be able to have a good treatment-life balance, where I'm not just having treatment, going to work, and that's all. If that's all you're doing because that's all you feel you can do, this disease can take over you. It can win. So, I'm not going to be an easy win. I'm going to do as much as I can to have my life back."
Bailey-Wilson is one of four patients who make up the first group of people participating in Fresenius Kidney Care's first-of-its-kind home dialysis training initiative.
Fresenius Kidney Care Indianapolis Shadeland Station opened its home dialysis training unit in January of this year. People can learn the ins and outs of home therapy with a dedicated care team available to ease their transition from in-center treatment to independent home dialysis.
Bailey-Wilson was intimidated to try home dialysis at first. She began embracing the challenge to self-cannulate, set up her machine, and learn more about how to optimize treatment with the help of her care team.
"My Patient Care Technician was amazing," Bailey-Wilson said. "She walked me through it step-by-step. I'm a hands-on learner. I thought it was too much, but she was patient and encouraging. She just made it seem simple, and she adjusted her schedule to help me. The nurses were attentive, too. It just took a lot of my nerves away."
"The new program allows both hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis patients to be ready to move to the home modality much more quickly than through individual training previously offered at Indianapolis Shadeland Station," Home Therapy Clinic Manager Wendy Taylor said.
The program also seeks to foster a sense of community for people living with kidney disease as they prepare together for home dialysis.
"Forming relationships with others is key to success for people on dialysis, whether they are in-center or receiving treatment at home," Taylor said. "Our patients always form strong bonds with their care teams. This program also allows them to maintain relationships with people just like them, who are going through the same transition, at the same time, and help each other through that change."
Taylor's staff initially consults with patients' physicians and families to determine whether home dialysis is appropriate for them. Taylor's team also helps each person set up their home dialysis stations at home and transition to care from a home dialysis nurse when the person is ready to move home.
Two people have already completed their transition to home dialysis since the unit opened. The unit has created two new staff positions for people who work exclusively in home training.
"Empowering patients with a sense of community, safety, and support through home therapy training is an important pillar of providing care to our patients that improves their quality of life," said Dennis Kogod, President of Fresenius Kidney Care and Executive Vice President of Fresenius Medical Care, Care Delivery. "The efforts we are making in Indianapolis can be an example of how we can allow patients across the country to take control of their care and receive the support they deserve."
Home dialysis offers people more flexibility in their lives and more autonomy in their treatment. Home therapy is also associated with better health outcomes because of the ability to dialyze more frequently if prescribed, which better mimics natural kidney function.1,2 More frequent dialysis can also allow a patient to rely on fewer blood pressure medications.3
Dialyzing more frequently allowed Bailey-Wilson to feel more energetic at her full-time job. She typically would hit walls of fatigue by the afternoon before making the switch. With her home dialysis setup in place and her training complete, she is looking forward to joining her family on vacation in May.
"I'm going to do as much as I can to have my life back from before I got sick," Bailey-Wilson said. "I want to make memories and have good moments. I don't want my family to remember me as someone who is always sick. I want to make memories."
Indianapolis Shadeland Station's unique home program is part of Fresenius Kidney Care's commitment to educating patients about the benefits of dialyzing at home. Fresenius Kidney Care continues to innovate new ways to show how home dialysis can work for people and the possibilities home dialysis might provide. From developing home dialysis video modules to leveraging cutting edge virtual reality technology, Fresenius Kidney Care is committed to helping more people make the switch to home dialysis.
About Fresenius Kidney Care
Fresenius Kidney Care, a division of Fresenius Medical Care, provides kidney care education, dialysis treatment, and support services to more than 200,000 people with kidney disease every year whether in their own homes or at more than 2,600 facilities nationwide. Fresenius Kidney Care's dedicated teams help address the physical and emotional aspects of kidney disease through personalized care, education, and lifestyle support services. For more information about Fresenius Kidney Care, visit www.FreseniusKidneyCare.com.