When you need dialysis, staying home is harder
For kidney failure patients, braving the world outside during a pandemic can be a matter of life and death. Some of the first COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. were of dialysis patients, patients who tend to be older and have coexisting conditions and who can be particularly at risk when it comes to COVID-19. While states ask everyone to stay home and quarantine, for those getting essential weekly treatments to filter their blood and rid the body of toxins and waste, staying home is not an option. Across the U.S., dialysis centers have been some of the first places hit with the coronavirus; even those who test positive with the virus can't skip appointments. “It’s like a part-time job,” says Northwest Kidney Centers patient Larry Denenholz. "You are in the chair for five hours. Most of us do it three days a week.” Medical staff at Washington dialysis clinics, such as Northwest Kidney Centers in and around Seattle, were among the first in the nation to help set the standard for pandemic dialysis care, and their lessons continue to provide guidelines to others on how to safely provide life-saving treatment to patients.