Cannulation training

For those in home programs, at what point did you get cannulation training -prior to machine training or at the same time? Did you feel confident when you went home that you could cannulate with no problems? How many weeks of cannulation training did you have before you were thoroughly trained?

Right on day one. The protocol where I trained is that it takes 6 days of sharp needle sticks in the same hole to establish a buttonhole before switching to the dull needles. So, my nurse showed me how to stick a sharp needle with the first needle that day, then I did the second one under her observation and guidance. I did every needle myself from then on with sharps, and then on day 7, I used buttonhole needles. That’s all there is to it, really.

Of course, it might be a little more difficult for someone who has a new fistula which is not really fully-developed yet.


I also started cannulating myself on my first day of training, which also happened to be my first day of dialysis. I found it quite easy, but then again I have a very prominent fistula. I sometimes had troubles with my buttonholes but never with a sharp.


I started cannulating after about 4 days of dialysis and home training. My fistula is still not very big.
Getting over the mindset of piercing new skin and what is going on in there with the vein was quite daunting (best not to hesitate and think too much about it I have found).
I had numerous pressure problems and my nurse had to help me reposition and I had several blows and quite a few bruises (doesn’t help your confidence). My first blow was rather a shock as it happened when a different nurse (not my home trainer) did my very first dialysis. That left an awful bruise and I fainted with the shock of it all!
Buttonholing has stopped the misses and relieved most of the stress. 8)

What happened to you Beachy is what often happens even in-centre with nurses doing it when a person first starts dialysis with a new, never-used fistula.

I agree Pierre, mine wasn’t helped also because I had a new nurse that had only been on the job a couple of weeks and shouldn’t have been asked to do a new patient. I think she was ready to faint as well! :shock: