Now more so than ever, Nephrologists across the country are encouraging their patients to try Home Hemodialysis since it has substantially better health outcomes to the Peritoneal Dialysis home option as well as improved quality of life and health results when compared to In Center Hemodialysis. “Once you get someone home, they feel better at home than they do with In-center Dialysis,” said Dr. Leslie Spry (spokesman for the National Kidney Foundation). However, with "United States electricity blackouts skyrocketing," according to a Cable News Network (CNN) report - research is continually showing that Chronic Kidney Disease and Dialysis patients with home health equipment such as Home Dialysis may be at high risk during power outages.
As most Chronic Kidney Disease and Dialysis patients are aware, Home Hemodialysis is typically performed five (5) to six (6) days a week at home usually using a full Dialysis Machine or a portable option. The benefits of Home Dialysis have been well documented in peer reviewed medical literature, including improvements in physical health, mental health, and nutritional status. For instance, because Home Hemodialysis offers more frequent Dialysis sessions, studies demonstrate individuals have a quicker recovery time after treatments and feel better throughout the day.
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Still a study published by the Public Library of Science found that "home health equipment could quickly be compromised by a loss of electricity." Imagine conducting Dialysis and suddenly the power shuts off and you are stuck on your machine mid treatment: What would you do? Reports have found that major power outages have increased ten times over since the early 1980s — and extreme weather is by far the biggest culprit. Beyond weather related blackouts, aging power grids in the United States have been noted to be less consistent. Hence, "Every patient ought to have a plan," said Dr. Janyce Sanford.
If power is cut during a Dialysis Treatment, then patients and caregivers may consider returning blood to the body manually from their Dialysis machine ONLY if they are trained to do so. Patients who Dialyze at home may also consider investing in a personal generator if they can financially afford the $1,200.00 to $1,500.00 price tag.
In Center Hemodialysis patients should know that not all States such as Alabama require Dialysis Facilities to have a backup power generator. In fact, "only a handful of states have such a requirement," suggested the Alabama Media Group. DaVita Healthcare Partners Inc. has chosen to develop, DaVita Village Emergency Response Team, which can be at a clinic within hours with generators to restore power to the facility. While DaVita Executive, Gayle Ozbirn mentioned that the company does have onsite backup generators at some of their clinics, they do not "disclose how many clinics have generators."
In any case, Dialysis patients should always have a charged cellular device during Dialysis since it may work even with an outage. Also, be prepared with a bag of essentials (flashlights, Band-Aids and gauze) in case you must rush to the Emergency Room.
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