Coping with Dialysis

Speaking openly about your condition can be a challenge, but it may help you establish trust and gain the emotional and practical support you need to cope and live well on dialysis.

Two women talking

Talking about your condition can ease the difficulty of adjusting to life with chronic kidney disease (CKD) and help you cope with dialysis.

Starting conversations with the people you love about the new realities you're facing may be challenging, but worth the effort. Their help and support will be invaluable throughout your treatment journey and sharing with them early and often will ensure that you have every opportunity to discuss their thoughts, concerns, needs and expectations.

Elderly couple holding hands for emotional support about dialysis

Talking to Your Spouse, Partner or Significant Other

If you've a spouse, partner, or significant other, you may prefer that they are your main source of emotional support throughout your treatment journey. This is especially the case if they are your main carer or support system during your dialysis treatment. It's important that you discuss with him or her how your treatments will affect the daily life for both of you and make a plan for how to cope with shifting roles and expectations in your household.

Family happily sitting on open field

Talking to Your Family

At some point in your treatment journey, you may want to tell your family about your condition. Being open about your condition with those closest to you may help them understand what you're going through.

Your family can also be a strong support network. For example, they may be able to take you to and from treatments. If you're on peritoneal dialysis (PD) or home haemodialysis (home HD), they may support you by helping you with your treatment. Otherwise, they may be willing to help you fulfil personal or family duties, like household errands or caring for small children.

Elderly having picnic in the park

Talking to Your Friends

Your social activities might be affected depending on your treatment choice. But this does not mean an end to your social life as you know it.

Communicate to your friends that you can still participate in the activities you loved before your diagnosis – although you should double-check this with your clinician – and that it's important to you that they continue to include you, when possible. They will likely be open to exploring some new activities that you can do together. If you choose to explore in-centre haemodialysis (In-Centre HD), you may even make some new friends during therapy!

Colleagues in formal wear discussing work in the office

Talking to Your Employer and Co-workers

You may still be able to work while on dialysis. And it might be important that you do so for your physical, mental and financial health. If you need to adjust your work schedule to align with your treatments, it may be beneficial to be open and honest with them about your condition.

Healthcare worker discussing dialysis treatment with elderly man

Going Solo on Your Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) Treatment Journey

If embarking on your treatment journey alone makes the most sense for you, know that you can go to your healthcare team for advice and resources that will help make life on dialysis easier. They should be able to advise you on how to get the most out of treatment and how to balance treatment with your professional and personal responsibilities or direct you to someone who can. Maintaining an open dialogue with your healthcare team about your condition is a great way to take advantage of the helpful support network they can provide.

How to live well with dialysis?

Holding hand for emotional support about dialysis

Mental health and kidney disease

Sharing your emotions is essential to preserve your mental and physical health while living with dialysis. Learn more about mental health and kidney disease.

Elderly couple holding hands

Sexuality and kidney disease

It's possible for you to maintain intimate relationships while you’re on dialysis. Learn more about sexuality and dialysis.

Preparing a dialysis friendly diet

Diet for dialysis patients

A kidney-friendly diet can go a long way in helping you feel and do your best throughout your treatment journey. Learn more about your diet and dialysis.