A regular KidneyBuzz.com viewer, Carolyn Trombacco wrote, "Why are Dialysis Clinics so cold? I am layered in clothes and blankets. I know when you don't move for periods of time you will get chilly but it is so cold you are not able to be comfortable for four hours."
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Firstly, Dialysis patients are not alone. Most medical facilities are kept relatively cold because "bacteria and germs [like MRSA] tend to flourish more in warmer temperatures," said Dr. Lori Harris (Desert Springs Hospital, Las Vegas). Still, there may be many reasons why Chronic Kidney Disease Patients may feel even colder during their Dialysis Treatments such as, a change in external weather, sitting underneath an air conditioning vent or blood pressure shifts. It is good to know, however, that patients can help to improve their body warmth and comfort while at Dialysis Clinics.
"The overriding factor is patient safety," wrote the Dialysis Patient Advocacy Group, American Association of Kidney Patients (AAKP). One of the main reasons Chronic Kidney Disease patients may feel colder in their Clinics is because they are unable to cover their entire body while on the Dialysis machine since they must leave their Dialysis arm visible at all times. There have been numerous documented reports of patients’ venous needles falling out into their chairs or underneath them while sleeping and covered with a blanket.
In some cases, the alarms did not immediately beep and patients lost units of blood within minutes, fell unconscious, and in some instances died. Hence, keep your Dialysis Access visible at all times - not only when doing vital signs, but continuously throughout the treatment.
A good solution for a patient to cover his/her entire body is to order the Dialysis Tailored Jacket and/or Pants (order here) which are made specifically for Dialysis patients to comfortably zip the Dialysis Jacket or Pants around their access sites. Many of our viewers have found that wearing Dialysis Tailored Clothing helps them enormously in staying warm and comfortable during Dialysis Treatments.
As a secondary option offered by AAKP, "patients can use a smaller blanket or towel to cover the exposed part of the arm or leg above or below the access." What's more, be sure to bundle up by bringing gloves, scarves, thick socks or booties and blankets to use during treatments. Do not underestimate the value of a hat which helps prevent heat from escaping at the top of your head.
Due to the fact that many patients have decreased sensation, avoid heating pads because you may not be able to tell if the pad is too hot for the skin, which could result in tissue damage. If you find you are still cold during your Dialysis after bundling up, talk to your Nephrologist about other reasons for why this issue may be occurring. DaVita HealthCare Partners Inc. said, "Ask about the temperature of the Dialysate (fluid used during Dialysis to remove impurities), medicines you are taking, and other causes that could be making you feel cold." Your Healthcare Team will work with you to help warm you up at Dialysis.
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