PD newbie questions

Hi, getting ready to start PD and preparing everything so I will be ready. I have a couple of questions and would appreciate any advice.

  1. Do I need a waterproof mattress cover in case my catheter leaks?
  2. What supplies will I need to buy myself that is not part of my monthly order?


I’m a social worker and am not on dialysis. If you’re in the U.S. and have Medicare or most insurance, most supplies are provided. Here’s a list of the supplies that Medicare requires dialysis clinics to provide. If you have other insurance, your might check with your insurance company.

The connection between the catheter and the tubing on the machine is closed and should not leak. I’ve not heard anyone say that they use a waterproof mattress cover. However, I’d suggest if you’re on Facebook, you join and post questions to the Home Dialysis Central FB group. There are almost 7,000 members. It’s a private group so what you post stays in the group. You have to answer 4 questions to be approved. There are people on PD and home HD from all over the world in that group posting 24/7. I’m sure you’ll get answers from people that are doing PD. Meanwhile, here are some recent tips in a blog on the Home Dialysis Central site. You can find other blogs under News & Research. Look for KidneyViews blogs.


I’m a nurse that specialized in home dialysis.

You will not need a waterproof mattress cover. The catheter should not leak.

In PD, you always want to remain a closed system. The fresh fluid and your catheter should never be open to air or environment. If the catheter is leaking, or becomes disconnected, you will know it before there is a large amount of fluid spilled. Even more than that, your biggest worry were you to wake with warm fluid leaking out of an exposed catheter is infection.

It should really never happen. Make sure your connections are nice and tight and make sure that you never put sharp things (like scissors) near your tubing.

Everything that you need to do PD safely at home will be provided to you. This includes your scale, machine, tubing, gauze, dressings, tape, hand sanitizer, masks, ointment, heating pad, cleaning supplies, BP cuff, etc.

Some PD patients do not using tape alone to secure their catheters to their bodies. Some don’t like the belts the clinic provides because they find them stiff. If that’s the case, you can buy a more comfortable belt online. This website also has fun little (not needed, but good to have) accessories that make showering and keeping your drain line in the proper place: kidneystuff (dot) com

Your clinic may or may not provide you with liquid soap. I (personally) feel that liquid soap and paper towels should be in everyone’s home already. You’ll need those though- never dry your hands on a towel! A flashlight nearby. A timer of some kind (Siri, Alexa, Google are good friends of PD). GOOD LIGHTING is a MUST!

It’s helpful (but not necessary) when doing manual exchanges to get one of those plastic bins that are on wheels and fit under the bed. They hold 4 bags of fluid (one day for most people) and you can arrange them on top of your heating pad and rotate bags in/out as you use them so you always have fluid ready at the right temp when you want it.

Some people like to have tray tables to set up supplies up on exclusively. Other use a surface they already have. Think about what may be your best system for that. Are you OK with your supplies being stored in original packaging or cartons or do you want it organized in bins or containers? That’s all up to you.

You will have to take stool softeners or laxatives. Your insurance may cover OTC medications, not sure. Worth an ask. If you have a cat, you’re going to need a bag of Temptations so you can get them out of the room for connection. Some patients like to use a bucket for fluid collection (you do a test every 3 months where you drain into bags instead of an actual drain) and a mop bucket on wheels works fine if you want to do it that way.

My dad (a CCPD patient) put a recliner chair, side table, lamp, mini-fridge, TV and books in the corner of his bedroom so that if he was having trouble sleeping, he could go hang in his chair without having to disconnect. Great set-up. Totally not necessary (you really don’t NEED anything aside from what is provided) but if you’d like some creature comforts, that’s completely understandable given how much time you’ll be spending on treatment.

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   I had the patient line disconnect from the transfer set. No idea how it happened. I woke up dreaming that someone had dumped ice water on my lap.
 Luckily, I woke up and caught it before much had leaked out. I capped the transfer set, shut down the machine, placed a bath towel on the bed and went back to sleep. I went to my PD nurse as soon as he came in the next morning so he could replace the transfer set.[spoiler]This text will be blurred[/spoiler]