Helping combat acute kidney injury
11 April 2019
It is estimated that across the UK, 20% of all patients admitted to hospital have Acute Kidney Injury (AKI). AKI is a major cause of illness and death especially among our elderly population.
AKI is a condition where there is a rapid decline in kidney
function and this means that the kidneys do not regulate fluid,
electrolyte and acid base balance.
In order to improve the outcomes of patients with AKI, Southend
University Hospital has recruited Linda Lio as its first dedicated
AKI Nurse in September 2018.
Linda is also the lead for the AKI work stream at Basildon and
Mid Essex, and meets regularly with the work stream members to
discuss and agree on AKI pathways across the three trusts.
The prevention, early recognition and correct management of AKI
can prevent serious complications, such as the need for dialysis
temporarily or even permanently.
AKI is predictable, avoidable and can be treated in most cases.
Some of the common causes of AKI are infection, kidney stones,
dehydration, low blood pressure and certain medications. Common
risk factors include patients aged 75 and above, or with cardiac
failure, liver failure or diabetes mellitus.
Linda said: "Acute Kidney Injury is a huge patient safety issue.
We can prevent, predict and treat it. In the month of February, 88%
of the patients with AKI had it on arrival to A&E. The
good news is that we are already seeing improvements here at
Southend Hospital as a result of implementing and following the AKI
"I see myself as a supportive role for all staff. Although AKI
is potentially life-threatening, with the support and teaching that
the staff get, they can understand that they will be able to make a
difference. Everyone can make a difference, from HCAs, to nurses
and doctors. My job is to enable people to make that
"That can be by doing a task as simple as using a urine dipstick
to help alert medical staff that a patient may have something
serious going on in their kidney and investigate the patient
promptly. It is also important that we look out for our
patients and ensure that they are well hydrated in hospital by
monitoring their hydration status."
The nursing care plans for AKI and the AKI policy can be found
on the staff intranet. AKI teaching sessions are offered to
healthcare support workers (HCSW) and newly qualified nurses (NQN)
in their induction programmes. AKI teaching sessions are being
offered at ward level as well. There will be teaching sessions to
book via ilearn from April onwards for nurses and health care
Pictured - Dr Gowrie Balasubramaniam and Linda