When you make a life with someone, you hope that everything will go smoothly. But life can throw curveballs, like kidney disease. What you need from your partner in the way of support will change when you’re on dialysis. If you have a hard time describing the support you need, here are some ways the partners of other dialysis patients have been helpful:
- Cooking a kidney-friendly meal. The dialysis facility dietitian can help you both learn what foods are okay, what to use in moderation, and what to avoid or use rarely.
- Going to doctor visits as an extra set of ears and taking notes. It can be very hard for a patient to pay attention and really hear what a doctor is saying.
- Put a week’s worth of pills into a pillbox so you can take them at the right times.
- Learning about programs available to chronic kidney failure patients such as Medicare, Medicaid, state kidney programs, American Kidney Fund and National Kidney Foundation programs and services.
- Going to a kidney education class so you can learn together.
- Providing rides to and from treatment.
- Filing paperwork from Medicare, Social Security, and/or any health plans.
- Learning your health history and acting as your advocate with medical staff.
- Taking on or hiring out some of the chores at home if you are feeling too tired or ill to do them.
- Getting a job or working more hours to help support your family.
- Becoming a partner for Peritoneal Dialysis (PD) or home hemodialysis.
- Offering to donate a kidney if you’re in good health and your blood type is a match for your loved one.
- Staying positive and encouraging.
- Asking what you need, and asking again if you don’t answer the first time.
- Offering to go to the library or search on the Internet for information about treatment options.
- Looking for support groups and resources for more information about kidney disease.
- Offering to get counseling if life becomes difficult.
Remember, communicating what you need is key to maintaining a healthy relationship.