Putting In Your Own Dialysis Needles

It won’t come as any surprise to most BigD-ers that there is a group of hardy souls in our club who prefer to needle themselves rather than rely on others to do it for them.

The largest part of this group is of course those who dialyse at home (who else will do it?).  But there are others (like me) who simply prefer the control it gives you, especially when you use the buttonhole method (which relies on a consistent entry angle and technique) or you travel and you don’t know how good the unit’s nurse or technician is at needling.

Chris, our unit manager is a real advocate of DIY needling, so it is a reasonably common practice among BigD-ers in our clinic.  I’ve been needling myself for about 15 years.  I still make the odd mistake, but mostly it has a happy ending.

Syd (not his real name), one of the new guys at our clinic has decided he also wants to put in his own needles too.  So Chris asked me if there was anything on this blog that could help.  There’s lots of good stuff, but nothing dedicated to helping people to needle themselves.

It’s time to fix that, so I am planning a new Briefing Sheet: “Everything you wanted to know about putting in your own dialysis needles but were afraid, to even think about it”.  Or something like that.

But I need help.  I’m hoping some of you DIY needlers out there can add your 2 cents worth to ensure it is a useful document.  Send in your stories, theories, techniques, tricks-of-the-trade, whatever you think will help a first timer.  Style is of no consequence; dot-points or paragraphs.

To get the juices flowing, here are a couple of initial responses when I asked around:

  • For me the first time was the toughest.  I knew the theory, but putting it into practice took more than a bit of moxie
  • Some nurses practice on oranges
  • Confidence is key
  • Much easier and less stressful with blunt (buttonhole) needles

Send staff as comments to this post, or to my email address (see the About page).

I’m hoping to put up a draft within two weeks.

Onward and upward (or downward, or sideways – wherever the fistula flows!)  Greg

Posting from the Big D and Me blog. – May 2, 2014

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