Provider Resources & Tips:
Transporting Dialysis Patients
Several of our transportation providers transport members to local dialysis centers. Let’s learn more about dialysis so we have a better understanding of the special needs of these individuals. They need some extra care and attention to their comfort and a safe, timely ride home!
Members typically visit dialysis centers three days per week, every week. The member first receives a checkup, and then settles into one of the recliners circling the room. Propping up an arm, a technician to slips two needles into blood vessels near the wrist. The needles–one to capture the blood and the other to return it–are attached to plastic tubes leading to a dialysis machine beside the chair.
For the next three hours, this device, which looks like a tall, narrow, automated teller machine, removes wastes and extra fluid from the member’s blood. They pass the hours by reading, watching the evening news, and sometimes dozing. For these members, dialysis keeps them alive.
Our members are of the approximately 217,000 Americans who receive ongoing dialysis, at an annual cost of $11.1 billion nationwide. Since the late 1960s, the procedure has been used in place of kidneys lost to disease, birth defects, or injury. It can be used temporarily until the kidneys resume function or the member receives a transplant, or for years if those options are not available.
What does dialysis do?
Like healthy kidneys, dialysis keeps your body in balance. Dialysis does the following:
- Removes waste, salt, and extra water to prevent them from building up in the body.
- Keeps a safe level of certain chemicals in the blood, such as potassium, sodium, and bicarbonate.
- Helps to control blood pressure.
Members need dialysis when they develop end stage kidney failure –usually by that time they lose about 85 to 90 percent of kidney function. Members usually feel nauseated or very tired after a dialysis treatment. Feeling like this after dialysis makes a person not want to have another dialysis treatment, and if a person start skipping dialysis, it can be even more dangerous and they will become sicker.