Home dialysis options:
“Nobody likes needles,” Joy Barringer, RN, says matter of factly.
It’s the biggest hurdle she faces as she explains home dialysis options
to new patients.
Joy manages a Satellite WellBound center in Memphis. It’s an unassuming
storefront location in a strip mall, but it’s ground zero in the
battle to educate both patients and doctors about what Satellite home
dialysis can do for them.
She says she takes a long view in convincing patients they can manage their
own care at home. “It’s not one conversation,” she explains.
To assuage them, she talks about sharp needles and more rounded tip needles.
She offers numbing cream and encouraging words about the benefits of home dialysis.
Too often, the bias of the nurse educator is a factor, she explained. Pointing
patients to peritoneal dialysis is the right first step for many patients,
but that decision shouldn’t be made because the needle conversation
is too hard or because PD training is quicker.
Connecting with Nephrologists
Educating doctors also requires a long view.
“It’s all a matter of building trust,” she says.
It starts with getting Nephrologists to understand the process of home
dialysis and to take a look at what Satellite’s personalized approach
is offering patients.
She and her team offer seminars and lunch-and-learn sessions where they
outline the training, and representatives of the equipment manufacturers
explain the technology. Doctors get a look at the center and see the training
It’s an important step, Joy says, but nothing beats a testimonial
from a satisfied and educated patient. When patients value the care they
receive and the way they’re being treated, they tell their doctor.
That gives the doctor confidence that referring patients to Satellite
Healthcare is a wise decision, she explained.
Career Focused on Patient Care
Joy has spent a large part of her career working with dialysis patients.
After 15 years as a hospital nurse, Joy came to the realization that dialysis
patients are special.
“They’re partners in their own care,” she said. “I’ve
always clicked with dialysis patients.”
So, when the opportunity to join Satellite Healthcare came her way, she
eagerly signed on.
Now, five years later, she’s manager of a center that serves about
85 patients, making it one of the largest in the region. But no one is
receiving dialysis in her center. No, those chairs are reserved for training
patients in doing their own home therapy.
Satellite’s Home Training Approach
The training is exhaustive, covering all the dos, don’ts and what
ifs. Patients preparing for peritoneal dialysis usually can learn the
procedure in less than two weeks. Those preparing for home hemodialysis
receive one to two months of training.
In her center, her team of six full-time nurse educators doesn’t
take the easy route. They treat every patient as an individual with unique
goals and challenges. And when a patient is ready, they will help them
graduate to home hemodialysis.
The approach is working. The center started with fewer than 20 patients
and has grown steadily as word spread. Now, referrals are growing so quickly
Joy hired two new nurse-educators this summer.
The five training rooms are constantly in use as patients learn the techniques
that give them more control over their dialysis and more control over
It’s a win-win, Joy said, and that makes her smile.
Joy Barringer, RN, is the Clinical Manager at Satellite Healthcare’s
WellBound Home Dialysis Center
in Memphis, Tennessee.