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Growing waistlines put pressure on renal care
The centre cost $7.6 million, and has more than twice the number of dialysis treatment stations, with 30 potentially available and 24 currently in use. It has moved just down the road within the hospital grounds to the refurbished Lions Cancer Lodge, which is now located at the former Braemar Hospital site in Hamilton.
The approach of the service continues to support and encourage patients requiring dialysis to be home-based if at all possible.
“Patient autonomy is a philosophy of the renal unit. There is good evidence that patient outcomes are improved with home-based dialysis. We have excellent systems in place to support patients and their families so that patients are able to carry out their dialysis in their own homes.”
While Dr Sizeland says the unit fits the “ambulance at the bottom of the cliff” comparison he hopes new pathways in primary and secondary health care may reduce the number of people requiring renal treatment. He’s keen to see a screening programme “because half of the people with diabetes don’t know they have the disease”. In addition, people with diabetes need to be screened for complications, and strategies put in place to prevent complications occurring. Even if patients have complications there are treatments available to slow down their decline in health.
“Diabetes is a dreadful disease – it causes circulation problems, nerve damage, and eye and kidney damage. We have interventions to slow down the rate of complications and their implementation requires an integrated care partnership shared between the primary, secondary and tertiary health providers.
“So we are looking after more and more patients which largely reflects the number of diabetic and older patients with kidney issues.’’
Most of the centre’s patients have kidney failure, with 65 per cent of the dialysis patients suffering diabetes and 95 per cent of these patients have obesity-related Type II diabetes.
The centre runs as a central hub with satellite dialysis units at Tauranga, Rotorua, Whakatane and Gisborne. The Midland Regional Renal Service is the largest multi-district health board renal service in New Zealand. “We are unique because we look after such a huge area.”
This does put pressure on the clinical staff, particularly the renal physicians and registrars who frequently fly to Whakatane and Gisborne and drive to Tauranga and Rotorua to provide outreach clinics. “All the clinical staff are passionate about supporting patients with renal disease, particularly the doctors who could fairly be considered supermen and woman. They should be wearing a cape and underwear on the outside of their pants to signify their superhuman status.”
Dr Sizeland says the strength and backbone of the service is the clinical staff. “The local team are committed, passionate and professional. We have a multi-disciplinary approach to patients with kidney disease which includes doctors, nurses, social workers, kaitiaki and specialist dieticians.
“The network of regional specialist renal nurses are equally skilled and focused about wanting to make a difference to our patients’ lives. This requires a broad and comprehensive care plan that effectively supports the patients and their families.”
While there is much work to do Dr Sizeland is confident the team have the resources to take renal care in the region ahead.
“The investment in the new centre is a vote of confidence in us and our work across the Midland region.
“We are a good service but we wish to be even better. This new facility will further encourage the staff to strive for excellence and be innovative clinical leaders of renal medicine in New Zealand.”
*Health Minister Tony Ryall will visit the new centre tomorrow. (Nov 30)BY THE NUMBERS
The new renal centre has:
Date: 29 November 2012
Waikato District Health Board
021 712 663