21 June 2010
A drive to increase the number of kidney patients receiving treatment in their own home has been launched by the Trust.
More patients are being encouraged to take up 'Home Haemo', a programme which teaches suitable patients how to dialyse in their home, giving them more freedom and more control over their condition and their treatment.
Of the 700 patients currently needing haemodialysis at the Trust, only seven patients have taken up 'Home Haemo' - that's an uptake rate of just 1%. Staff in the renal unit are now looking to boost that figure up to 15%.
Susie Mallinder is one of the nurses in charge of renal services at the Trust. She said: "Haemodialysis is a time-consuming and lengthy treatment with most patients dialysing for four hours at a time, three times a week. By giving patients the chance to dialyse at home, they can save valuable time (and money) on travelling and can become much more independent.
"The training programme is tailored specifically to each patient who wants to learn more about haemodialysis at home, and is not compulsory, so any patient who would rather continue to dialyse at hospital or one of our eight renal satellite units (in West Byfleet, Purley, Sutton, Farnham, Crawley, Kingston, Farnham and Mayday Hospital) may do so."
And, all of the equipment (including the dialysis machine itself) is provided and installed in the patient's home, at no cost to our patients.
Susie added: "Home Haemo is all about patient choice - it's about empowering our patients to become more independent and to help them enjoy more freedom.
"Developing a kidney condition is life changing and can be incredibly restricting both in terms of time and lifestyle. Not only do our patients need to come in for time-consuming dialysis sessions three times a week but they can also be severely limited in what they can eat and drink.
"It is therefore incredibly important that we can offer our patients increased flexibility wherever we can.
"Additionally, patients dialysing at home may also have the opportunity to dialyse more often, meaning that they'll feel better within themselves and their diets and lifestyles may be less affected by their condition."
One of the patients to take up the 'Home Haemo' programme is Heather Watkinson. Heather has just started learning how to do haemodialysis, so still has more training to complete before she will be dialysing at home. She is learning with her husband William, so that he can be on-hand and fully-equipped to help if needs be. Heather said: "We've only been doing the training for a few weeks, but it's going quite well so far. It feels like we have a lot to learn and that's slightly daunting, but we know that with practise, it will come.
"The training is very flexible and we can go at our own pace, so that makes us feel very comfortable. Being able to dialyse at home seems like a fantastic opportunity to us, and will mean that we can go away for a day or chop or change our plans without having to worry about dialysis too much. That's very exciting for us."