Patients diagnosed with chronic kidney disease will be referred to a Nephrologist by their GP. The treatment options available for patients with CKD are hemodialysis, peritoneal dialysis, which can be done at home by patients and kidney transplant. For hemodialysis, the patient is required to visit the dialysis centre about 3 times a week and undergo dialysis for 3 to 4 hours. However, the most important and difficult factor is choosing the right nephrologist and a quality dialysis centre. As dialysis requires you to travel to the dialysis centre frequently every week, it is a good idea to find a nephrologist near your home.
Finding a good Nephrologist
Finding a good nephrologist is not an easy job. Although your GP may refer you to a good nephrologist close to where you live, you may want to evaluate the doctor’s credentials, find out how many patients he/she has treated and if he/she has conducted surgeries, how many of those have been successful. You should find out which other hospitals/dialysis centres the doctor is affiliated with. It is important to evaluate the nephrologist on your first visit. You should keep an eye out for the doctor’s communication skills, whether he/she communicates with you at the level you understand; the doctor should take time out to comprehend your condition well and be able to give you a basket of treatment choices from which you can choose the option that best fits your lifestyle; the doctor should have good knowledge of the subject and be able to answer all your questions regarding your illness; the doctor should be kind in manner and try and make you as comfortable as possible, because your relationship with him/her is going to be long-term and it is best to develop a friendly relationship with him/her. If the nephrologist satisfies all your needs and you still want to confirm the diagnosis and treatment options, you may want to consult another doctor and take a second opinion just to make you feel more confident. This may also help you find a doctor with whom you are more comfortable.
Choosing a quality dialysis centre
Once you’ve chosen the nephrologist, you have to evaluate the quality of the kidney dialysis centre where the doctor consults. You can start by making a visit to the dialysis centre and observe what the staff and facility are like. The visit will also help you in knowing how to get to the dialysis centre and how close it is to your home. Then, during the consultation with the doctor, you can ask him/her if the facility is adequately staffed with experienced and trained professionals. You should be able to rate the cleanliness of the facility. Then meet the staff, and enquire about the available dialysis schedules and if the schedule fits your needs. Last but not the least, it is good to find out if the dialysis centre accepts your health insurance plan. Then you may consider the mode of transport that you will use to travel to the dialysis centre every week, and make arrangements accordingly.
Stories by Manju Singh