You usually start dialysis at the Borough kidney treatment centre in the 'new starter' area. This is so you can be reviewed by the consultant and the kidney care team. Together, we can plan your care for the next few months.
You should expect to stay in the new starter area for 2 weeks before moving on to your local dialysis centre. If a space is not available at your local centre, we'll arrange for you to go to another centre in the short term. The dialysis matrons will talk to you about this.
Starting dialysis at Guy's and St Thomas' is normally part of advanced kidney care within our own clinics. We offer three treatment types.
Travelling to your dialysis appointment
We offer free transport if you have a medical need and no other means of travelling to your dialysis centre for regular treatment.
Before your appointment
Tea, toast and biscuits are available at our dialysis centres. Please bring a packed lunch or snack with you. It can be a long day and you may miss mealtimes.
You might want to bring a book or device with you to pass the time. All our dialysis centres have free WiFi for you to use with your smartphone, tablet or laptop. Please bring headphones with you if you want to listen or watch anything, so you don’t disturb others. The community dialysis centres have televisions with personal headphones.
Dialysis can make you feel cold. You may want to wear warm clothes and bring a small blanket.
We need to be able to see your dialysis access (fistula, graft or line) while you are having dialysis. Please don't cover your access with clothing or blankets during your treatment.
During your appointment
You'll have an allocated nurse for each treatment session. Each session usually lasts 4 to 5 hours.
There are no set visiting times for friends and family at our dialysis centres. Please check with staff at your centre for visiting advice.
Exercise programmes are offered at our dialysis centres. Exercise can make your dialysis work better by helping remove toxins (poisons) from your blood. A physiotherapist visits our dialysis centres regularly. You can ask them for more information about exercise during dialysis.
After your appointment
If you have any questions or don't understand anything, please speak to your dialysis team.
We can also put you in contact with other members of the kidney team, including:
- social workers
- peer supporters
We'll invite you to complete a short survey 3 times a year to give feedback. Your views are important to us and help us to improve our services.
In an emergency it is vital that you get treatment as soon as possible. If you suddenly become seriously ill for any reason, you should immediately:
- call your GP, or
- dial 999 for an ambulance
It is helpful if a relative or friend can let us know if you're in hospital.
If you have a less serious problem or concern related to your dialysis treatment, please contact your centre for advice.