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Dialysis may not be suitable for everyone...

Some people with kidney failure will decide not to have dialysis treatment. There may be many reasons for this.

Some may feel that the treatment will be hard to manage and impact too much on the remainder of their life, or they may feel that the journey to the hospital three times a week is too much for them.


Having heart disease or other chronic conditions may also make the renal treatments such as dialysis particularly difficult.


For those who are easily confused, for example, people who have dementia, dialysis may seem frightening or upsetting.

Patients making the decision not to have dialysis will ultimately die, but often of other causes and many die with some kidney function remaining.

There is lots of support out there to help you make these difficult decisions.


Pearl Siwak (86) tells her story about why she chose conservative care.

Frequently Asked Questions

What care will I receive if I choose not to dialyse?

If you decide not to have dialysis, you will still receive support from your kidney team. Your GP will also be made aware of your decision.

You will still see your kidney doctor regularly either in clinic or via telephone if you are unable to make the journey.

You may be referred to community teams to help manage your care at home.

How long will I live for if I choose to not have dialysis ever?

Unfortunately this is impossible to say, every person is different and can depend on things such as remaining kidney function and how well you are looking after yourself/your kidneys. For some people it may be months, others years.

How will I feel?

Again, this can vary from person to person. Some people's kidney function might drop to 6% and they still feel well, others may start noticing symptoms when their kidney function is at 10%.

Once your kidney function drops to the point where they are not able to carry out their job properly, you may start feeling fatigued, nauseous, your appetite might decline and feeling less alert. 


Copyright © 2016 Alberta Health Services, Conservative Kidney Management


Becci Lorimer

Renal Patient Education Specialist Nurse

- contact for further information/education on conservative care


01603 287070

Helen Alton

Renal Social Worker

- contact if you need advice on matters of employment, benefits and generally coping at home

01603 288934


Catherine Atkinson

Renal Counsellor

- contact if you need any other support

01603 647269

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