On this page: Your Care Team

Meet your care team

Remember, you are the leader of your health care team. There will be many other people working alongside of you to help you get the care you need, but you are the most important person! The other members of your team include people who are trained to help you:


Nephrologist: A doctor who works with people with kidney problems.

Kidney educator: A trained professional, often a social worker, who teaches patients about kidney disease and dialysis treatments.

Nurse: A trained medical professional who will assist in your care and dialysis treatment.

Patient care technician (PCT): A health care worker trained to give care during hemodialysis (HD) treatments.

Dietitian: A trained professional who gives information on what to eat and drink to maintain a healthier life.

Social worker: A trained professional who gives all levels of support, including educational and emotional, to patients before and after beginning dialysis.

Peer mentor: A kidney patient who has been trained to support other patients.

People on in-center HD regularly see many members of this health care team when they go to dialysis.

People on peritoneal dialysis (PD) are responsible for their daily care and see their health care team once or twice a month when they go to their dialysis center. This doesn't mean they are alone! Family members of people on PD may assist them with their daily care, and a member of the health care team will always be available by phone.

Health Tip   Health Tip
  • An on-call nurse or health care team member may be available to touch base if you have any questions about your care.


Dialysis Care Team


Talking with your care team

Here are some suggestions to keep in mind when you meet with your health care team:

Health Tip   Health Tips
  • Talk with your social worker about a special type of Medicare that is available to people with kidney disease and additional co-insurance that will help you get the best coverage for your dialysis care.
  • To help you remember the details, bring pen and paper to take notes.
  • Think of questions you have, write them down, and bring this list to your appointment.
  • Bring a loved one with you. They can help remember some of the details and ask questions.
  • Discuss your wishes with your loved ones and make them known to your health care team.
  • Tell your health care team what's important in your life, and ask them about the symptoms or side effects you care most about.
  • If you have a dialysis treatment preference, let your health care team know. Sometimes, they may have medical reasons for recommending one dialysis treatment over the other, but it's important to know what these reasons are.
  • Print out the results of the exercise on the "Decision Tool" page, and share these with your health care team.


Research described on this web site was partially funded through a Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) Award (1109). The statements and views presented here are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI), its Board of Governors or Methodology Committee.