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  1. Richard, Cleo J. PhD, RN, CNS


A vascular access for hemodialysis is the client's lifeline. It must be protected and used only for hemodialysis. Clients are knowledgeable about their vascular access and need to be listened to about its care. These clients' greatest fear is that their vascular access will be damaged and rendered nonfunctional. All health care personnel who come in contact with the vascular access and the client need to properly care for the vascular access with the goal of preserving its function. The purpose of this article is to explain the different types of vascular access for hemodialysis and how nurses can preserve and care for them. The vascular access and adjacent body areas need to be assessed regularly for circulatory, neurological, and muscular functions. Adequate perfusion helps to preserve the vascular access. Clients with end-stage renal disease will undergo many invasive procedures to establish and maintain a vascular access. Therefore, it is important to preserve the integrity of the existing vascular access as well as the surrounding vessels for future accesses. Nurses in acute care settings can assist to reduce the human and economic burden of vascular access.