Staffed by specially trained pediatric dialysis nurses, a dialysis dietitian, social worker and child life specialist, the unit also has an education specialist to help patients stay current on school assignments while receiving treatment.
When someone’s kidneys can no longer do its job, a medical treatment called dialysis can take over filtering the person’s blood, through a system that removes waste from the blood.
Nearly all children with end-stage kidney disease eventually need transplants. If a living related donor can’t be found, dialysis may be used until a donor kidney becomes available.
There are two forms of dialysis: hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis. In hemodialysis, blood is cleansed outside the body through a machine called a dialyzer. These treatments usually last four hours at a time and typically need to be performed three times a week. Peritoneal dialysis uses the lining of the stomach to filter the blood. There are two forms of peritoneal dialysis available:
CCPD uses a machine to perform the dialysis at night; CAPD is done throughout the day. CCPD requires the assistance of a parent or caregiver and is most suitable for younger children; CAPD is performed by the patient and may be more suitable for adolescents and teens.
At the Levine Children’s Hospital Dialysis Unit, the staff trains caregivers in CCPD. The staff also works closely with the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit to provide acute dialysis to children who require this treatment.
The Dialysis Unit is open Monday to Saturday, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Sundays for acute needs only. Typically, patients receive treatment three days a week for four hours at a time, either Monday, Wednesday and Friday or Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.
The Pediatric Dialysis Unit staff works in tandem with the Palliative Care team at Levine Children’s Hospital to deliver the best care possible to your child and your family, while minimizing discomfort. The Palliative Care team helps with pain and symptom management, determining goals of care and emotional, social and spiritual support.