Learning about your loved one’s diagnosis is never easy. Like your loved one, you may feel a rainbow of emotions. But the best thing you can do right now is to ensure their comfort. No matter how desperate you are in wanting to show your support, it helps to do due diligence to ensure you are doing things right. Below are four steps you can take to understand their condition and know what you can do to support your loved one in a more meaningful way.
Let Knowledge Guide Your Choices
It pays to talk to their doctor and check how you can best show your support to a new dialysis patient. Like how each case is unique, it helps to learn more about your loved one’s condition so you will know exactly what to do and should not do.
For one, you and your loved one should know about all the treatment options available. Understand the risks and advantages of each one. Discuss them with your loved one and his healthcare provider.
Patients have several dialysis choices depending on their case. Some can choose home dialysis, where you and your loved one will undergo training to make sure you can manage the home dialysis and handle any issues that can occur.
In-patient dialysis, on the other hand, is the traditional dialysis option where patients can come to a dialysis facility on a regular basis. There are also skilled nursing facilities (SNF) that are now offering dialysis to their patients. SNF partnerships make onsite dialysis a reality to patients residing in skilled nursing facilities as a more convenient way of receiving the kind of treatment they need.
Ask questions if you don’t understand anything. The more educated you are about your loved one’s disease, the easier it will be for you to support them. This will give you the confidence you need to make better-informed decisions.
Accompany Your Loved One to Scheduled Appointments
You need to make sure that your loved one is attending their scheduled appointments on time. This is aside from their scheduled dialysis treatment. Their doctors will need to you make sure they go to their scheduled follow-up checkups and others lab tests to continuously monitor their condition.
Your loved one undergoing dialysis treatment for the first time can be scary and overwhelming. Them seeing a familiar face can be enough to calm their nerves. You also need to make sure that they remember when their next dialysis treatment and checkups will be to make sure they don’t miss any appointments.
It also helps if you accompany your loved one when attending a local support group. Sometimes, the best way to ease the fears and answer the questions of patients is to talk to others who experienced the same disease. One may have their own stories to tell, but hearing the stories of others and receiving support from the right people can make a big difference in how they can manage their disease.
Prepare Healthy Meals as Advised by Their Doctor
A healthy diet is crucial for hemodialysis patients. But before you go on changing their diet, be sure to consult their doctor. They can help you by explaining what your loved one can and cannot eat to best suit their health.
They can even recommend a nutritionist that will give you a list of all things you can give to your loved one. Note that most dialysis patients are advised to keep the following things in mind.
- Limit processed food items
- Be careful with your salt or sodium intake
- Use other seasonings other than salt, like onion, garlic, fresh herbs, and sodium-free spices
- Read your water bottle’s label to avoid drinking softened water
- Avoid peas, peanut butter, dried beans, nuts, and seeds
- Avoid salt substitutes high in potassium
- Cut back on meat, eggs, milk products, and cheese
- Don’t drink canned ice teas, ale, beer, and dark colas
- Eat plenty of food rich in calories and fiber
Encourage Enough Rest as Well as Exercise
Dialysis patients can easily get tired. This means they need to stop wearing themselves out or risk fainting. It is highly recommended that you encourage your loved one to get more rest and sleep especially at night.
Motivate your loved ones to walk as often as they can. They need to do this to prevent blood clots from forming. Since they require rest for a longer period, they also need to move around, walk, and bend their legs.
You can do this by telling them to walk with you in the park. You can offer to go with them when they walk their dog around the neighborhood. Before encouraging your loved one to do stretching, cardio, lifting weights, and calisthenics, consult their doctor first just to be sure.
Caring for anyone who now regularly needs dialysis is not easy. But there are ways you can make your new role easier to manage. The best way to do this is to keep yourself informed with the right information from credible resources.