Feb 15, 2024
Teamwork in Treatment: Recognizing the Essential Role Care Partners Play in Home Dialysis
DaVita home dialysis patient Claire enjoys a day of golf with her care partner, Sally.

When Claire started dialysis, her in-center treatments made her feel like she was missing out. She enjoyed an active lifestyle, regular outings with her friends and rounds of golf. So when she and her nephrologist decided that she could transition to peritoneal dialysis (PD), an at-home treatment option,[1] she was excited to have the flexibility to get the treatment she needed and return to her active social calendar.

But Claire didn’t have to go through training alone: Her best friend, Sally, agreed to be her care partner.

“When she said at the very beginning of this, ‘If you want to go through this training, I will go through it with you,’ I couldn’t believe it,” Claire says, remembering Sally’s offer to be her care partner and how it gave her the confidence she needed to start training for home dialysis. “The fact that she did volunteer … I jumped on it right away and said, ‘Perfect, let’s do it.’”

For people who pursue a home dialysis option, a care partner plays a crucial role in managing treatments. From the start, care partners receive the same training as patients to make sure they’re equipped to help manage dialysis treatments and navigate other care needs to support someone on home dialysis.

“A care partner is not just someone who is around — they are active and essential to the home dialysis experience,” Lydia Johnson says. Johnson is the national home dialysis social work lead at DaVita. “Home dialysis can help patients feel independent, and care partners can also make it more manageable.”

“Sally’s my glue, and she proved it when she started taking the classes with me for PD.”

— Claire

Every February, DaVita recognizes the role home dialysis care partners play in helping people succeed on home dialysis. In fact, a study in 2019[2] reports that support from a care partner has been associated with improved treatment adherence and quality of life for someone on home dialysis. And because of the responsibility care partners take on, it can be incredibly important to consider their well-being.

“The reason I love DaVita’s Home Care Partner Appreciation Month is because it’s important to celebrate them for how they contribute to their loved one’s success on home dialysis,” Johnson says. “We get to recognize and appreciate them for all they do and support them in fulfilling that care partner role in a way that’s balanced and sustainable for them.”

For Claire, having Sally involved with training gave her more confidence. As Claire’s DaVita PD nurse, Mark, would show them the treatment process step-by-step, Sally would take notes that she would later type up for her and Claire to review. They would call out any questions they had and follow up with Mark to make sure they had captured the exact right information.

As Claire and Sally completed training and faced performing treatments at home on their own, Claire found comfort in relying on her best friend to help her get set up, and troubleshoot challenges with the notes Sally had prepared during training. And when they needed extra help, Mark was always a phone call away.

“I wouldn’t do it without Mark. Mark first, then Sally. Or Sally first, then Mark. I don’t know. But we did it; we did it!” Claire says, recalling some of the nervousness she experienced when first learning how to do at-home treatments.

Throughout this month, DaVita is sharing resources emphasizing the value care partners bring to at-home kidney care as well as the importance of supporting their well-being.


Modality and treatment decisions are made exclusively between the patient and their treating nephrologist.

Note: DaVita continues to champion transplant and recovered renal function.


[1] Modality decisions are made exclusively between a patient and their treating physician.

[2] Jacquet S, Trinh E. The Potential Burden of Home Dialysis on Patients and Caregivers: A Narrative Review. Can J Kidney Health Dis. 2019 Dec 18;6:2054358119893335. doi: 10.1177/2054358119893335. PMID: 31897304; PMCID: PMC6920584.