September 1, 2009 | Healthcare Risk, Quality, & Safety Guidance


Dialysis therapy treats renal failure by partially replacing renal function. For patients with chronic renal failure—typically caused by diabetes or hypertension—dialysis therapy does not restore kidney function or promote healing but instead removes fluid and metabolic wastes to minimize further damage to other organ systems. For patients with short-term (acute) renal failure, dialysis can allow the kidneys to heal while protecting other organs.

The majority of dialysis patients undergo hemodialysis, which is the focus of this Self-Assessment Questionnaire (SAQ). The technology for hemodialysis is well established, and treatment is routine. Nevertheless, risks are ever-present given that dialysis patients typically undergo three lengthy procedures each week, take multiple medications, are at risk for bloodstream infections from needle punctures during dialysis, and are at increased risk of falling immediately following dialysis. During treatment, patients must be monitored for...

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