A local newspapter article that doesn't feature me - oh my

I now have company in Mid-Michigan. I believe there at least four new patients at our recently opened DaVita@Home East Lansing Clinic. Yahoo!


Patient has new outlook after in-home treatments

Dialysis option rising dramatically

David Harris • dmharris@lsj.com • July 7, 2008 • From Lansing State Chris Austin said he just wanted to quit life during his dialysis treatments last year. The 37-year-old from Grand Ledge was diagnosed with end-stage renal disease, a form of kidney disease that causes kidneys to fail, in October 2005.

The hemodialysis he had been undergoing for more than two years was just too painful. The single father said it prevented him from working and from spending time with his two sons, Christian, 15, and Keegan, 13.

He said he had decided he wanted to get his boys through high school, and then quit dialysis – a decision that would likely prove fatal in three to six months for patients with his level of disease.
Then Austin’s doctors told him about home hemodialysis – a treatment that would allow him to complete dialysis at home.

It’s a growing trend in Michigan. While only 53 patients in Michigan completed the dialysis at home in 2005, that number more than doubled to 112 in 2006, according to the National Kidney Foundation of Michigan.

And the number of patients using home hemodialysis will match the number of patients going to centers in five years, according to Maurie Ferriter, director of programs and services for National Kidney Foundation of Michigan.

Less hassle
Ferriter said in-home treatment is growing because patients can have more treatments each week, less hassle with transportation and more control of their lives.

Ultimately, Ferriter said more treatment helps the patient live longer and have a better quality of life.
Ferriter said most centers can only allow patients three treatments each week because of the number of patients who need care. But in-home dialysis has no limit on the number of treatments.

Austin undergoes the treatment six days a week for about three hours each day at home.
“The person has control of their schedule,” Ferriter said. “They don’t have to stick to a rigid schedule of going to a center.”

Home hemodialysis, like in-center treatment, is covered by most insurances, said Linda Bodzin, program manager for Davita at Home, which supplies machines for the home.

Energy increases
Austin said it has changed his life.

“Within three days (of receiving the treatment), I felt better,” said Austin, who began the treatment in April. “My energy levels were way up - just the way you feel is better.”

During the in-center dialysis, which was three days a week for five hours each, it became difficult for Austin to work at his landscaping company and to take care of Christian and Keegan. “It physically and mentally wears you out,” he said. “I wasn’t going to live like this. I just figured I’d sell everything I owned and go travel. I’d travel until I couldn’t do it anymore.”

The treatment at home has allowed Austin to take a new outlook on life. He is back to his regular work schedule and can start paying off medical bills incurred during his illness. He also can spend more time with his boys. “We get to watch movies together,” he said. “We can sit in the same room while they are doing their homework. My kids are everything to me.”

Christian has had to adapt his life immensely. Sometimes he cannot go out with friends because he must help his father. But he said he is fine with that. “God has his way of testing you,” he said. “It happens to other people, too. It’s not like we’re the only people who this happens to.”

Rod Sanford/Lansing State Journal
Three hours a day: Kidney dialysis patient Chris Austin, 37, uses a home dialysis machine last week at his house. For Austin, each session takes about three hours, six days a week. He prefers it to standard five-hour sessions at a dialysis center three days a week.


number of patients who completed home hemodialysis in 2006, more than double than in 2005


number of in-center hemodialysis patients in 2006


number of years experts say when the amount of home hemodialysis will equal that of in-center hemodialysis

Source: National Kidney Foundation of Michigan

What it is

Home hemodialysis allows patients to complete dialysis in the home. Experts say it prolongs life and quality of life.

The patient undergoes about three weeks of training to use the machine. The machine acts much like a kidney. It pulls blood out of the patient, cleanses it and returns the clean blood to the body.

Maurie Ferriter, director of programs and services for the National Kidney Foundation of Michigan, said there are about 40 providers in Michigan who offer home hemodialysis. The cost of in-home treatments are about the same as in-center treatments.