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Home > Home HemodialysisNewsPatient Stories > Back to Thompson: Family Trains on Home Hemodialysis to Get Back Home

May 13, 2019 | Home Hemodialysis, News, Patient Stories

The day Renee Healey has been waiting for is nearly here. After more than four months in Winnipeg, she and her 17-year-old daughter Iris will finally get to go back home to Thompson, Manitoba.

“We can actually just get back to our lives again,” she says. “It’s been really kind of draining and hectic here.”

The 41 year old is connected to a home hemodialysis machine and on her second last training session at Seven Oaks General Hospital’s home hemodialysis unit.

Renee and her daughter have been in Winnipeg since December and living in a hotel since February. Her husband is back working in Thompson while her son is temporarily living with her mom in Gods Lake Narrows.

Renee can’t wait to have everyone under one roof and be back in her quieter community. Once she gets back to Thompson, she’ll do hemodialysis treatments four days a week in her own home.


“I didn’t even know anything about home hemodialysis,” she admits.


Renee had been using home peritoneal dialysis for nearly four years. Peritoneal dialysis cycles a solution through a tube into and out of the belly area to get rid of waste and fluid. An infection around her peritoneal dialysis catheter led to a surgery date in Winnipeg.

She thought she would be able to continue doing peritoneal dialysis but the catheter had to be removed and she learned she’d have to transition to hemodialysis.

“We were very excited when we heard about it and we said we would take that option.”

“I was very upset and very emotional,” she says. “I thought my life is changing now and I am going to have to move to Winnipeg.” The thought of that change was overwhelming. While Thompson does operate a hemodialysis unit, there is currently a waiting list and Renee had grown used to dialyzing at home. That’s when home hemodialysis was explained to her. 

Both Renee and Iris admit home hemodialysis seemed like it would be a challenge.


“At first I thought it sounded complicated,” explains Renee. “I had that kind of scared feeling.”


She worried about their ability to do the training but because they wanted to get back home, the family decided to give it a try. Renee has some limitations with her eyesight so her husband and daughter are helping her do the treatments.

Iris can now single-handedly run a dialysis treatment for her mom.

“I felt very anxious before doing it. Now I feel fine about it,” says the 17-year-old. Iris says the learning process was so interesting she is considering nursing as a career choice. She is also ready to be back home.

“I’m very excited because I get to go back to school. I get to see my friends.”

Renee says training support at the home hemodialysis unit has been fantastic. “They crew here is so amazing. They made this experience wonderful.”

She says it became clear home hemodialysis was the best option for her. She went through some dialysis unit hemodialysis treatments and said the difference is notable.

“They try to get to your target weight with aggressive dialysis,” she says. “I find when you are doing it on your own machine you feel a lot better. You’re not drained out.”

She says that better feeling at the end of treatment, along with the ability to pick her own dialysis schedule and dialyze at home, makes home hemodialysis the better pick.

She encourages others to look into home hemodialysis and to give it a try.

“A lot of people try to stay on PD because they think their only option is to move to Winnipeg. But they have the option to go onto hemo and to do the training.”

Renee and Iris headed back to Thompson on the Easter long weekend in April.

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