A brand new training room could halve the time it takes to teach patients with chronic kidney disease how to conduct home dialysis.
The two-bed outpatient facility within Glan Clwyd Hospital’s renal department officially opened today (August 2, 2023) and has been welcomed by both staff and patients.
Prior to its development those suitable for home dialysis had to be shown how to dialyse themselves in the main renal dialysis unit at the hospital.
Not only was it impersonal and busy, it was also only available to patients for three sessions a week.
The new room is available five days a week, allows more one-to-one contact time with patients and will cut training schedules from four to six months, down to two to three months.
One of the first to see the benefits of the new room is Davina Zanni, aged 79 and from Llandudno Junction.
She said: “The training has been absolutely fantastic. The staff here are so great and I’ve been well looked after.
“If there’s something I don’t understand, I know all I need to do is ask and the staff will go through it with me.
“It’s much better having a dedicated room to do the training. When you’re in the main dialysis room, there might be other machines beeping and going off.
“So when you need to concentrate on your own, it’s handy to be in the quieter room and the staff can also help explain things at a slower pace and in a calmer area.
“When I came in yesterday, I couldn’t get my needles in properly, so they did it for me, but they are helping me learn, and I managed to do it myself today.”
Eventually, Davina will be able to go home and the Health Board will supply around £30,000 of equipment to help her be more independent.
For the first couple of weeks she will also receive extra support to help her settle in to her new routine. However, there is a dedicated on-call service available if she experiences any issues with her treatment.
Charitable funds were used to pay for the conversion of the former meeting space into the new training room.
Home dialysis gives patients more independence, more flexibility to arrange treatment around work and other commitments - and a reduced reliance on additional medicine.
One study found 26% of home haemodialysis patients relied less on medication compared to those receiving dialysis on hospital sites.
Being able to undergo dialysis more often keeps patients with chronic kidney disease more healthy, which in turn gives them an increased chance of receiving a kidney transplant.
Davina agreed there were good reasons for being able to conduct her haemodialysis at home. She said: “When I can do this myself at home it will be easier not having to travel to the unit as much, which will be a benefit for me and for my husband, who drives me and waits.”
Home therapies assistant practitioner Sharon Dyson said: “This is the closest to patient-centred care that you can get. Davina will have the control over when she has dialysis.
“This offers her the freedom of choosing when to do it. If she’s busy then she can do it when she’s free, rather than when the unit is open.”
The training room can accommodate up to four patients per day, two in the morning and two in the afternoon, with each visit lasting around four hours.
Home therapies sister Nicola Roberts said the new home therapies training room was a “must-have” for staff and, more importantly, patients.
She said: “It gives them an ideal training environment and it gives them the privacy time and space they need. Importantly it also gives them the continuity of staff and time for us to look after patients who are training.
“It shows the organisation is taking home therapies seriously and it’s been a big boost for the staff.”
The national standard is for 30% of patients with chronic kidney disease to receive haemodialysis at home.
Nicola added: “We were in single figures and now we are at 27%. This new training room will help us go even further.”
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