Dialysis frequently asked questions

Treating chronic kidney disease

See the welcome to our dialysis unit page for information on what to expect when you dialyse.

Will I see a dietitian?

Dietitians visit all the units regularly and see patients according to clinical need. They also phone patients.

The following diet sheets are available for kidney patients to download from our kidney patients leaflets and support section:

  • Making sense of food labels

  • Lowering your potassium levels
  • Lowering your phosphate levels
  • Controlling your fluid balance
  • How to eat well with a small appetite
  • Eating less salt
  • 'SCALE'
  • Diet and haemodialysis

Copies of the 'Everyday Eating’ recipe book for kidney patients are available from the dietitians.

Will I be able to transfer to a dialysis unit nearer home?

If you are not already dialysing in the unit nearest to your home, you may wish to ask about transferring. This will depend on whether you are well enough to dialyse away from the hospital. 

If you would like more information about local dialysis units, please ask the dialysis staff. You may need to wait for a space to become available before transferring to another unit.

Can I learn to do my own dialysis?

Self-care dialysis is when patients learn how to do some or all of their own dialysis treatment. It can also involve learning more about living with kidney disease and staying healthy. Self-care dialysis can offer you:

  • more independence
  • flexibility
  • reduced waiting times.

Please ask your named nurse for more information about the self-care learning programme. You may wish to see the self-care DVD Living Life to the Full on Dialysis, which is available in the unit.

Will I be able to go on holiday?

Yes, but before making any plans please talk to a doctor or nurse at least two months before the holiday to ensure you are fit enough to travel.

We will then advise you how to go about arranging holiday dialysis and give you the appropriate information for:

  • dialysis within the UK in an NHS or private unit
  • dialysis within the European Economic Area (EEA)
  • dialysis outside of the EEA
  • dialysis on a cruise ship.

More advice is available from the Post Office in a leaflet entitled, Health Advice for Travellers, or online at the NHS website.

Patient leaflets

See the list of kidney patient leaflets that we have produced to help you understand about your condition, your care and treatment