When people suffer from kidney failure, toxins build up in their blood. Dialysis is a process that takes blood from the body and filters it through an outside machine called a dialyzer. Once the blood is filtered, it is returned to the patient's body. Dialysis reuse techs clean reusable dialyzers so that patients can use them when they return for another dialysis session.
The reuse technician's primary responsibility is cleaning dialyzers. After a patient's dialysis session is over, the dialyzer is sealed in a bag and given to the reuse technician. The reuse tech inspects the dialyzer and rinses out any blood clots. The technician places the dialyzer on a reuse machine, which uses highly purified water to clean the equipment. After the cleaning, the tech tests the dialyzer to ensure that it's functioning properly and disinfects it as well.
Reuse technicians play an important role in patient care. As they clean the dialyzer, they look for excessive blood clots. This can indicate that a patient's dose of heparin, an anti-clotting medication, is inadequate. In addition, they inspect the dialyzer to ensure that it is working properly; a dialyzer that has holes or cannot handle its designed capacity isn't cleaning the patient's blood. Techs determine when a dialyzer needs to be replaced, and they may explain a facility's reuse policies and procedures to each patient.
In addition to handling the dialyzers, dialysis reuse techs are also responsible for managing the reuse equipment. This includes changing cleaning filters and disinfecting tanks and jugs as needed. Techs also must maintain logs, manage all refuse and waste according to regulations, and attend staff meetings as needed.
Reuse techs typically possess a high school diploma or G.E.D. Most facilities offer on-site training in how to operate the equipment used for the job. Techs have to be able to lift as much as 35 pounds as part of the process of cleaning and managing dialyzers and dialysis equipment.
Steve Lander has been a writer since 1996, with experience in the fields of financial services, real estate and technology. His work has appeared in trade publications such as the "Minnesota Real Estate Journal" and "Minnesota Multi-Housing Association Advocate." Lander holds a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Columbia University.