Patient Educational Materials


How to have a good future with kidney disease

Help, I Need Dialysis! How to have a good future with kidney disease

This new publication by Dori Schatell, MS and Dr. John Agar will help CKD patients learn how they can have the best possible life with dialysis.  This publication can be ordered from Life Options ($14.99, plus shipping and handling). 


Understanding Your Hemodialysis Access Options

This valuable fact sheet from the American Association of Kidney Patients gives a detailed overview of the different types of hemodialysis acess and their pros and cons.

Fistula or Catheter: The Patient's Perspective

A series of stories from real dialysis patients will give you insight into how they have worked with their healthcare team to choose the best vascular access option for them.  Developed by the Renal Network of the Upper Midwest and the Upper Midwest Fistula First Coalition.

Access = Lifeline  

A one page educational flyer for patients, created by the FFBI Clinical Practice Workgroup, gives a quick overview of the advantages and disadvantages for each vascular access type used for hemodialysis.  Spanish Version 


Access Options for Dialysis

One page article (page 3) covers access options, why each access type is used, pros and cons of each, proper care for each, and what problems to report to your care team. From the NKF Family Focus newsletter.


Buttonhole Cannulation - Video

A Dialysis patient demonstrates self-cannulation using the Buttonhole technique for ESRD patients who manager their dialysis at home.  Provided by Home Dialysis Central.

Caring for & Developing Your New Fistula: What You Should Know

This tri-fold brochure demonstrates exercises you can do after fistula surgery to help the fistula develop well and mature faster. It also covers how to care for your new fistula, including listening to the bruit, feeling for the thrill, and watching for signs of problems.  Provided by ESRD Network 12, the Heartland Kidney Network.


Choosing Your Hemodialysis Vascular Access

This two page article (page 6-7) describes access options, pros and cons, how to choose an access, access care, explains how to ask for a referral to a vascular surgeon, where to find a surgeon who has experience creating AV fistulas, and how to ask for a second opinion. It includes a list of questions to bring to an office visit with a surgeon.  Provided by the NKF's Family Focus Newsletter.


Conquering Your Fistula Fear

This three page fact sheet has a wealth of information on how to conquer fear of dialysis (such as needle sticks and blood loss) and fear of the medical setting, health care providers and/or surgery. The article also covers concerns about how a fistula looks and gives tips on dealing with strangers' questions. Provided by ESRD Network 12, Heartland Kidney Network, with input from the 18 ESRD Networks across the nation.


Dialysis Needle Fear: Easing the Sting

A three page article explains needle fear and has tips you can use before and during needle placement to reduce fear and pain.  Provided by Home Dialysis Central (MEI).


Dialysis Patients Speak: A Conversation About the Importance of AV Fistulas

In this 12-minute video, designed for patient audiences old and new, you will see renal professionals and real dialysis patients telling their access stories from the heart. It is humorous, moving and educational. There is major emphasis on placement and use of AVF as a first blood access, and strong cautionary tales about catheters. The conversational style of the video is non-threatening, sincere and candid. Our hope is that your patients see the video and are encouraged to have discussions about vascular access choices.  Provided by ESRD Network 1, Network of New England


Doppler Imaging & Vessel Mapping

An illustrated, tri-fold brochure explains what a Doppler study is, types of Doppler studies (Duplex Doppler, Color Doppler), and how to prepare for a Doppler.  Provided by ESRD Network 12, the Heartland Kidney Network.


Fistula Complications: Stenosis & Thrombosis

This tri-fold brochure explains narrowing (stenosis) and clotting (thrombosis) of the veins and describes non-surgical treatment options, including interventional radiology and angiography.  Provided by ESRD Network 12, the Heartland Kidney Network.


Frequently Asked Questions about AV Fistulas

Two page fact sheet presents vessel mapping as a first step in helping to decide if you are a candidate for an AV fistula.  Provided by ESRD Network 12, the Heartland Kidney Network.

 Just the Facts: Vascular Access

This illustrated two page fact sheet gives an overview of access types and offers tips to avoid infection, blockage, and injury to your access. The fact sheet includes an overview of what happens in access surgery, including a brief discussion of anesthesia and what you can do during dialysis to protect your access, with sample questions you can ask your care team.  Provided by Life Options (Medical Education Institute, Inc; MEI).


Kidney School Module 8 - Vascular Access: A Lifeline for Dialysis

An illustrated, 27 page module offers tips to help you protect your blood vessels and improve your chances of having a good fistula. It has advice for dealing with fears such as surgery, needles and needle sticks, and worries about access scars. The module also includes personal stories from people with kidney disease.  Provided by Life Options' Kidney School (Medical Education Institute, Inc; MEI).


Maintaining Your Lifeline

This illustrated, 12 page newsletter has information on getting ready for access placement, symptoms to watch for after surgery, and tells you how to check for your thrill and bruit.  It also describes narrowing of the veins (stenosis) and how to prevent it.  Provided by ESRD Network 12, the Heartland Kidney Network.


Phase 1: AAKP Patient Plan

The first book in the three-phase American Association of Kidney Patients Patient Plan. "Diagnosis to Treatment Choice", explains on pages 7-12 how to work with your care team to deal with your emotions about kidney failure. It also covers depression, anxiety, and how to talk about kidney disease with your family and friends.  Pages 15-16 describes access care steps before the needles are placed to protect you and your access.  Provided by the AAKP.


Phase 2: AAKP Patient Plan

In the second phase of the AAKP Patient Plan, "Access and Initiation", pages 5-6 gives a detailed overview of fistula placement, from choosing the site to deciding the best choice if a problem occurs.  The book also describes exercises that will help your fistula work better and how to check your new fistula after surgery.  Provided by the AAKP.


Phase 3: AAKP Patient Plan

the third phase of the Patient Plan "Stabilization", explains narrowing of the veins (stenosis), the most common sites where stenosis occurs and the problems it can lead to - like clotting. This section also tells you what to expect if your fistula develops a clot.  Provided by the AAKP.


Putting "U" in Fistula

This illustrated, 12 page newsletter presents step-by-step information on having a fistula created (vessel mapping, surgery, needles, pain) and reviews numbing medications. Provided by ESRD Network 12, the Heartland Kidney Network.


Using the Buttonhole Technique for Your AV Fistula

This tri-fold brochure describes the buttonhole technique for putting needles into a fistula, with history, benefits, and types of needles used.  Provided by the Northwest Renal Network.


Vascular Access Passport Set - Part 1

This two-part resource contains forms for access recordkeeping, allowing you to keep track of date(s) of placement, your surgeon's name, access site(s), and any revision/cause of failure information. Provided by the ESRD Network of New England.

Vascular Access Passport Set - Part 2

This resource provides cards to remind health care workers how to protect your veins (and access sites).  Provided by the ESRD Network of New England.


Your Access Care Pocket Guide

This wallet-sized reminder guide covers the most important points about access care, using a TLC (touch, look, care) approach.  Provided by the The Renal Network, Inc.



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