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Southend University Hospital is first trust in country to use remote dialysis on 100% of patients

27 November 2015

Health Care

Southend University Hospital is the first trust in the country to use new remote access technology with 100% of its peritoneal dialysis patients.

Dialysis machines keep patients alive by doing the work of their kidneys: cleaning the blood and removing waste. Patients are also taught how to perform and manage dialysis themselves.

Previously a patient would visit hospital with a SIM card containing a month's worth of data but with the new technology nurses can access and control patients' machines and receive daily data without the patient ever needing to leave home. It also means potential problems can be picked up earlier and managed appropriately.  

Renal patient Tim Evans (pictured), 66, from Southend-on-Sea is one of the first to use the remote technology and he has been under the supervision of the homecare team for three years now.

Tim explains: "When the renal department asked me if I wanted to be one of the first to use the new machine I had no hesitation because I have absolute confidence in all of the team.

"My care is better because the homecare team are able to do things immediately; if they see something that isn't quite what they want it to be, they can respond over the web and tell my machine if it needs to do something slightly different.  They control that from the hospital."

Sister Georgie Pharro, home therapies manager in the renal unit, said: "Patients who may have been tentative of doing dialysis themselves at home can be reassured that the nurses have a close eye on what is happening. Our elderly and frail patients can be monitored more closely."

Tim is quick to reassure patients who may be about to embark on a similar treatment plan using the technology: "For anyone who is able to take advantage of this type of treatment, there isn't any reason to be nervous about it all. It's pretty straightforward and the back-up of the team at the hospital is professional and red hot.  They will make sure, first of all, that you can do it and they won't let you fly solo until they are absolutely convinced that you're safe to do so."

Another great advantage of the remote technology is that holidays no longer mean a break in recording data as Georgie explains: "When patients go on holiday or to another hospital, they can now take the machine with them in the special case provided and continue to record their daily readings. This gives added reassurance for the patient and their dialysis results can still be reviewed and any problems can be dealt with wherever they are. This can give peace of mind and a sense of freedom for patients."

Looking ahead, there is also the option of using the technology in conjunction with smart phones and tablets. The nurses are able to access the site from any device with internet access. More patient data can be recorded such as weight, blood pressure and the types of fluids they are using to give a more detailed analysis of a patients treatment.