SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — People going through dialysis have to give up many of their daily activities due to long treatments.
But thanks to an at-home option, a local man says he’s able to do all of his regular activities even during dialysis.
“Like a lot of people I had heard a lot of horror stories about dialysis and how people feel bad and all of that,” Steve Rabuck said.
In 2017 Steve Rabuck began experiencing extreme tiredness, to the point that his job as an attorney was almost impossible.
One year later he was told he would have to begin dialysis.
“Naturally when I found out I had kidney disease I wasn’t very happy. And then we found out, I had a kidney biopsy and we found out that my kidney disease was much more advanced than I thought,” Steve Rabuck said.
Dr. Mohammad Qamar says people doing dialysis have to go to appointments 3 times a week for up to 4 hours at a time.
But thanks to at-home dialysis, people can receive treatment from the comfort of their own homes.
“You can travel, you can work, you know we have patients that are actively working, they travel, they go to school and it just enables them to have a pretty decent quality of life,” Qamar said.
Unfortunately he says out of the roughly half million dialysis patients in America, only about 12 percent do at-home dialysis.
He says part of that is due to lack of training for physicians, and the other half is fear.
“When you mention to someone that you have end stage kidney function they get scared, they get overwhelmed. And now you tell them that you can do this at home, at that point no one wants to take on the extra responsibility,” Qamar said.
While the percentage of patients doing at-home dialysis is low, doctors are hopeful those numbers will go up.
Qamar says patient training only takes about a week, and all patients have 24/7 access to experts in case of questions or emergency.
Rabuck has been doing at home-dialysis for over a year now and says knowing there’s someone available puts his worries at ease.
“I couldn’t get it to work and I was able to call and we got it straightened out. I had just made a stupid little error, it was a very simple thing,” Rabuck said.
He says receiving dialysis at home has changed his life, thanks to newfound energy which has allowed him to be back at work full-time.
“It’s kind of like eating, it’s something I have to do,” Rabuck said.
Qamar says the cost for at-home dialysis is the same as receiving it as an in-patient.
If you’re interested in doing at home dialysis, talk with your doctor.