The alarm I use under my veinous needle, as provided by my home dialysis unit, is simply a standard bedwetting moisture detector. It’s simply taped up against the gauzes that support the needle. If the veinous needle came out, presumably, the blood pump would stop and the dialysis machine would alarm. The moisture detector might alarm before the needle actually completely pulls out, as it takes only a hint of moisture between the two contacts to set it off (like blood soaking the gauze under the needle).
Yes, it’s very possible to do this alone. I recently trained to do my daily home hemo alone. I trained to do it as nocturnal, but I have to do short daily for a couple of weeks at home first. So, I will let someone else answer your questions about nocturnal. I do tape my needles and lines up as for nocturnal, though. I use a burn net over my arm to facilitate taping. If you’re alone, once you’re on, you’re on. So, you have to be sure you have everything on hand that you might need (tapes, gauzes, scissors, scissor clamps, spare transducer filters, alcohol swabs, etc.).
I have a phone nearby, but my unit also provides me with free Lifeline service, just in case, I guess, I’m about to pass out and I don’t have the time or ability to dial 9-1-1. I guess it could be a lifesaver though under some circumstances, as Lifeline already knows exactly where I am, and that I’m dialyzing at home alone. I’m not really sure that I need this, but I guess it can’t hurt.
About fistula pain, just one comment. In my experience, the regular dialysis units let potential fistula problems slide, or simply don’t notice them, because you are only dialyzing 3 times per week, and you get a different nurse or tech all the time (there’s no continuity). When doing it daily, these problems are more likely to actually become problems that interfere with dialysis. I ended up needing to have a fistulagram and an angioplasty during my 6 week training period. In hindsight, the signs were there that I had a stenosis which needed attention, but nobody really cared to follow-up on it until I got to the home dialysis unit. If you have pain in your fistula during treatment now, it might be worse when dialyzing daily. I think it might be wise to find out why you have pain during treatment.
I’ll tell you though, I feel so much more independent now, plus I can eat more phosphorus and potassium. It’s worth the effort.
Standard 3 x week hemodialysis since Oct 2002
Recently started daily home hemo after 6 weeks training
Was hoping to get a transplant before I actually started, but no dice