My husband has to attend hemodialysis 3 times a week, 4 hours each time, and I’d like your ideas on how to keep it rewarding!

Although I have explained everything to him many times, he keeps asking if dialysis is a course that gives him credits. He was a doctor and often attended continuing education (CMEs) seminars for credits required to keep his medical license. When I tell him no, there are no credits for attending hemodialysis, he shakes his head and says it’s not worth attending. I explain that the benefit is for his personal health, but he doesn’t see it. So, I told him that he has to go because they check attendance. This got his attention. Then he expressed concern because he sometimes sleeps during it... 😆 (That’s OK!) Then he asked if there will be a test and when the course would be finished...

These conversations are new for me to navigate. I thought I’d ask the forum for ideas.

I told him he would receive a certificate of attendance. The nurse suggested rewarding perfect attendance. I was thinking we could follow the college semester timeframe, but maybe 16 weeks is too long for him. Maybe a weekly reward, followed by a monthly reward would be better?

But what kind of reward?! He doesn’t enjoy eating or going out. He doesn’t have any hobbies. I know he likes academic attention, hence my thought of a certificate. Maybe each month, we could give a certificate. And each week a... sticker? I’m not sure! I’ve never really valued having my name on a piece of paper, so this very different from what I would want.


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Have you ever read Carol Bradley Bursack's article on Validation Therapy?

If your DH needs to believe he's earning credits toward a certificate or degree then that's what I would go with.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to cwillie

Because of his past and expecting continuing education credits, I think if he has a day planner that the nurse marks his attendance and hours in each session and then have the nurse give him a certificate each month. It will mean more to him if it comes from another medical professional.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to Tothill

Thank you, everyone! This encouragement is exactly what I needed. It’s not easy to start fibbing to someone who could always tell when something was amiss. Your ideas are great.

I told him him I was going to look into how dialysis can count for CMEs tomorrow. He perked up hearing this. I plan to print out a calendar for each month or use his diary to collect stamps each time we go. I can bring him “free lunch” after the session (it’s typically a sandwich with fruit, chips, and cookie at cmes but I’ll try to improve on that). At the end of the month, I’ll print off a certificate. I love the idea of taking a picture of him shaking hands with the nurses and framing these to hang on the wall!

... The others at dialysis are going to be so jealous!
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to JuliaRose

Julia, my daughter has issues with a very active four year grandson, who goes into meltdown only too easily. She started a chart on the fridge with crosses for bad times and ticks for good times. Grandson is not stupid, so I am quite surprised by how well it is working. Jenny only has to say ‘you don’t want a cross, do you?’ and he often stops in his tracks. I think you have to move away from ‘sensible’ in your own circumstances, forget that both of you are very intelligent adults, and go for trivia. Find a really good sticker book, and do the stickers for attendance? There are stickers for cars, it doesn’t all have to be ‘my little pony’ in pink. He has diabetes, but perhaps stevia- sweetened lollies? If you have time, searching the net for child (even pet) rewards might come up with something that could work for you.

And I see no reason not to say that the process is CME and /or he is taking part in a medical experiment into its effect. You could get him to report back on a range of symptoms and show him that you are keeping a record. Perhaps make a dummy form to submit regularly to the people running the experiment. 'They' might even write back with questions for him! Best wishes in something you didn't think life would throw at you!
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to MargaretMcKen

Do an internet search and print out certificates of completion, attendance, best ideas for keeping the time interesting, number of new contacts made, etc. Be creative and make it fun. You can even buy dollar store frames and create a wall of accomplishments.

We did this for my husbands (ishinru) karate class students with fun pictures that pertained to the individual and their accomplishments and personalities. Everyone loved and cherished them, the parents and teachers found it an amazing idea and saw how it encouraged participation.

Let us know what you end up doing.
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Reply to Isthisrealyreal

Report card
Use your cell phone take a picture shaking hands with nurse
as previous posters... certificates are easy to create off internet
You can also do a time card... time in time out... initial it
Behavior... good, bad, was still, moved a lot, etc.
Attitude... good, bad, smiling
Helpful Answer (0)
Reply to anonymous567821

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