At Home

Tips what to do when staying at home

To reduce risk of Coronavirus infection, we recommend all patients to stay at home on non-dialysis days. During this period of home isolation, it is important to keep your body and mind busy.

Continue with your usual routines but refrain from activities outside your home. Instead, find constructive things to do at home, around your flat, house, garden or balcony that can keep you occupied and give you a feeling of accomplishment. For sure there are plenty of things to do like tidying up the cellar, finishing some photo albums, gardening or handicraft work. This is the perfect timing to start a new hobby. For relaxing you can also read interesting books or do crossword puzzles.

You should also make good use of digital social networking to keep in touch with your friends and family. Mobilize your social community offering each other company and support from distance with regular phone calls to exchange experiences and feelings. Have a good talk as often as possible to compensate absence of face-to-face contact.

Physical exercise at home

Stay fit also during Coronavirus restrictions and home isolation. We recommend to you to include a daily home workout of 20 minutes into your routine.

Simple exercises and gymnastics will have a positive influence on your overall condition like improved digestion and sleep, lower cholesterol levels and decreased risk of heart disease.

Moderate intensity exercise can boost the immune system. However, vigorous intensity exercise can suppress immune function, especially if you don't exercise regularly. There is no scientific evidence of the effect of exercise on the immune response to infection by Coronavirus. Please consult with your physician before starting to exercise, to define what is most suitable to you.

Some ideas for physical activity are:

  • Walks around your flat, house or garden or jogging on spot
  • Taking the stairs up and down
  • Stretching and gymnastics like leg lifts, arm cycling and torso cycling

In case you have any symptoms (fever, cough, difficulty breathing) stop physical activity and contact a health care professional.

Nutrition and shopping advice

Be strict with your diet.

Due to Coronavirus prevention measures in dialysis centres your treatment routine may change. Therefore, it is now very critical that you stay disciplined with your diet and especially take care of your intake of fluid, potassium and phosphorus. Here are some recommendations to manage your nutrition at home.


Guidance on shopping

If possible, you should not go shopping yourself to lower risk of infection. Ask your family or friends for support or choose delivery service. Don’t neglect your diet and follow the recommendations given to you by your doctor or dietitian. However, there are some points to be considered:

  • Plan properly and write a shopping list so nothing is forgotten
  • Make sure you have enough supply for 14 days
  • Buy food with extended shelf life or canned, but avoid processed food
  • Be careful with long lasting products like beans or peas as they are rich in phosphorus and potassium, consume only moderately and not in longer periods between next treatment

When getting food delivered you should avoid direct contact with the person which brings your groceries. Keep the appropriate distance, avoiding greetings with direct contact. After receiving the food, remove it from the packaging and discard those. You should wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, before touching your food

Recommendations for your shopping list

  • Vegetables: buy them both raw or frozen
  • Carbohydrates: rice, pasta, bread (for freezing) should not be missing in your shopping list
  • Meat & fish: if you choose to buy meat and fish fresh, freeze a portion and consume the fresh in a couple of days
  • Fruit: fruit is perishable, buy fresh (and unripe), avoid fruit with high potassium concentration like banana or kiwi, make a stockpile of canned fruit (always in its juice, avoid syrup)
  • Eggs: should not be missing from your pantry, if you store it in your refrigerator it will last longer
  • Dairy: Buy long-life milk. Among dairy products, the best option is cured cheese


Handling of food

There is no scientific evidence that food can be a source of Coronavirus transmission (European Food Safety Authority, EFSA). You can still buy and consume the same kidney friendly food as usual.

  • Nevertheless, we recommend to you to apply strict hygiene measures especially when handling raw food
  • Carefully wash your food, hands, kitchen surfaces and supplies like knives and cutting boards with hot water & soap during food preparation
  • Use different utensils like knifes and cutting boards for raw and cooked foods
  • Cooking or heating food can be additional safety measure as the virus is sensitive to heat
  • Store fresh and perishable food in your refrigerator so it lasts longer
  • Make good use of your freezer to preserve some food for longer

Click here to look at the NephroCare nutrition online material with helpful information and recipes.

Managing emotions

In the state of home isolation it is possible that you are confronted with mixed or negative emotions. It is important for you to be attentive to any negative emotions like stress, loneliness, frustration or anxiety.

Your psychological health is fundamental for your overall well-being, so manage your emotions properly:

  • Keep your mind occupied with home activities instead of thinking too much
  • Stay focused and take good care of your mental and physical health
  • Try to see opportunities where others see problems
  • Always stay optimistic and keep a positive attitude
  • Express and share your positive attitude also when speaking to others
  • Stay in touch with friends and family via phone or digital communication channels
  • Filter the quantity and quality of information you absorb
  • Do not listen to or circulate information that is not verified by local health authorities

Be careful of overeating or over hydration caused by emotional hunger and cravings.

Don’t let your emotions trick you and differentiate between real, physiological hunger and emotional hunger. Only eat when there is the feeling of hunger and a physical need and stop eating when you are filled. In case your negative emotions are too overwhelming or you cannot manage emotions anymore please seek medical advice.

If you share a household with someone who shows symptoms

  • Stay home and monitor your symptoms
  • Inform your clinic team and local healthcare authority
  • Wash your hands often (> 20 sec.) or disinfect
  • People with symptoms should stay in separate rooms as much as possible, wear a facemask and ideally use a separate bathroom
  • Clean all surfaces regularly with household cleaner and avoid sharing personal items, like dishes, towels or bedding

Tips for home isolation

  • Isolation should be done in a dedicated room if possible, which is well ventilated
  • It is intended to minimise contact between individuals and limit the contamination of surfaces in the household
  • If there are multiple bathrooms available, one must be dedicated to the patient
  • In the event of a shared bathroom, strict hygiene measures need to be applied
  • Maintain a safety distance of >1,5 metres
  • You must avoid all contact with vulnerable individuals (pregnant women, people with chronic illnesses, elderly people, etc.).
  • Certain surfaces are likely to be source of contamination and must be disinfected regularly (smartphone, doorknobs, window handles, etc.)

Laundry and bed linen

  • Wherever possible, the patient should carry out these activities personally
  • Do not shake the laundry and bed linen
  • Transport the laundry and bed linen directly to the washing machine, without placing them down anywhere on the way
  • Wash bed linens belonging to a Coronavirus positive patient in a washing machine on 60 degrees cycle for a minimum of 30 minutes (Or the hottest degree the fabric can tolerate)

Instructions for floor cleaning

  • Do not use a vacuum cleaner which generates aerosols
  • Clean floors and surfaces ideally with a single-use cleaning cloth impregnated with a detergent product, rinse with clean water using another single-use cleaning cloth, then leave to dry
  • If you use re-usable cloth, please wash them on 60 degrees cycle for a minimum of 30 minutes (or the hottest degree the fabric can tolerate)
  • Then disinfect floors and surfaces diluted to 0.5% active chlorine (1 litre of 2.6% bleach + 4 l of water)
Related topics

Visitor notice and etiquette for Fresenius Medical Care dialysis centres

Recommendation of prevention measures in daily practice