Working while on dialysis

working while on dialysis?

More and more people combine dialysis treatment and employment

There are many good reasons to continue working:

  • Earning a salary and benefits
  • Satisfaction of doing meaningful work
  • Staying busy and engaged
  • Interacting with co-workers
  • Staying current in your field, while waiting for a transplant

Talk to your care team today! We’re ready to cheer you on with solutions that can help you work while getting the dialysis treatment you need.

Start Here to Balance Work and Treatment

Don’t give up your career. Give these tips a try:
Tell your doctor and social worker that you want to continue working.
Ask them about dialysis treatments that will fit your work schedule.
Consider telling your supervisor. While you’re not required to share health information, if you feel comfortable doing so, you might find your employer willing to work around your dialysis schedule.

Additional resources

These treatment options offer greater schedule flexibility and more energy to get the job done!

Home hemodialysis (HHD)

Hemodialysis cleans the blood by sending it through an artificial kidney for short treatments during the day or overnight, while you sleep at home.

Peritoneal dialysis (PD)

Peritoneal dialysis uses the lining in your abdomen (peritoneum) and a special solution (dialysate) to remove waste and extra fluid from the blood. Many PD patients do their dialysis at night, while they sleep.

Nighttime center hemodialysis

Hemodialysis cleans the blood by sending it through an artificial kidney. Nocturnal dialysis allows for longer treatment times, creating softer, gentler treatments while not interfering with daytime activities. Treatment happens in a dialysis center in the evening or at night. 

Dialysis and working FAQs

In many cases, yes. The first step is to choose a type of dialysis that best fits your work needs and lifestyle. Many, but not all, employed people on dialysis, receive their treatments at home because it means more schedule flexibility, less recovery time, and fewer eating/drinking restrictions. Others are able to make dialysis in a center, either at nighttime or during the day, fit their work schedule.

Your dialysis care team works with you to schedule treatment around your personal and professional needs whenever possible.

Dialysis, and its different treatment options, affects the mood and energy level of different people in different ways. One advantage of receiving treatment overnight, either at home or in a dialysis center, is that patients sleep during treatment. Home dialysis is particularly good at removing toxins and extra fluid, which leaves you feeling better. Plus, recovery time after each treatment is much shorter when it’s given at home compared with treatment in a center.

Regardless of the option you choose, your care team helps you think through the best way to coordinate your treatment, so you can give as much of yourself as possible to your workplace.

Starting life on dialysis is an adjustment, especially as you maintain your job.  Talking with your social worker combined with conversations with other people on dialysis offers perspective, tips and support to help you manage the requirements of your treatment and your work.

Federal law protects people who need to receive treatment for medical conditions. While it’s not required, if you feel comfortable, it’s best to communicate with your manager at work. With advance planning, many employers are willing to schedule work around treatment and doctor’s appointments. 

If you think your workplace has discriminated against you because of your medical condition, you can contact the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission here: Reach out first to your social worker, who can discuss this possibility and process with you.


Laws to protect you from disability discrimination

The Federal Government has passed laws and made programs available that are designed to allow people who have disabilities to continue to work.  Here are some of them. Ask your social worker if any of these apply to you.

The ADA prohibits discrimination and guarantees that people with disabilities have the same opportunities as everyone else. The ADA covers employers with 15 or more employees.

This two-page pamphlet provides a general explanation of the ADA and how to file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission:

This booklet provides an overview of ten federal laws that protect the rights of people with disabilities and contains information about the federal agencies to contact for more information:

Section 501 of the Rehabilitation Act prohibits employment discrimination against people with disabilities in the federal sector.

The FMLA entitles eligible employees to take unpaid, job-protected leave for specified family and medical reasons while continuing to receive the same group health insurance as if the employee hadn’t taken leave.

Social Security Administration's Ticket to Work Program helps Social Security beneficiaries go to work while they keep their health coverage. This program is free, voluntary and available to most people who receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits because of a disability.