Self-dialysing at home improves renal patients’ lives
06 November 2019
Long hospital visits and waits are a thing of the past for a group of renal patients at Southend Hospital, with the launch of a new home haemodialysis service.
Haemodialysis is a treatment for end-stage renal failure that
uses a machine to filter blood through an artificial kidney so
excess fluid and waste products can be removed from the body.
Traditionally, patients visit the hospital three times weekly at
times and days set by the unit and have to stick to a strict diet
and fluid restriction and face constant tiredness.
Now with committed home therapies staff and an allocated
training room, staff are inspiring confidence in patients to
dialyse in the comfort of their own homes, and improve their
Elaine Barradas, Home Therapies Sister, said: "We empower them
to look after themselves independently and fit their dialysis
around their own lifestyle. This allows them much more
flexibility in their life and avoids constant travelling to
The first home haemodialysis patient started dialysing at home
in March and the team are just starting training patient number
seven to go home.
One of those who has already successfully completed his training
is Kevin Daintree, from Westcliff-on-Sea, who has been dialysing at
home since June this year. He spoke about how it has improved his
quality of life, whilst dialysing in his bedroom.
Kevin said: "I'm in a couple of music groups, so one of the
disadvantages of being dialysed at the hospital three nights a week
meant not being available for rehearsals or gigs on a Monday,
Wednesday or Friday was extremely limiting. So, one of the
things about doing it at home is the ability to fit your dialysis
around the things that you want to do, so it has made it much
easier for me to be at rehearsals and do gigs locally and around
"Doing dialysis at home also connects you a little bit more with
the family; it means you're at home in the evenings, rather than
one coming in from work and the other going out to sit at the
hospital for four hours. And then you come home and everyone is
asleep. It's a huge benefit to be able to have more quality time
with your loved ones.
"It's also more comfortable doing it at home; it's just nice to
be in your own surroundings. I often make a sandwich and drink
beforehand and watch a film or listen to some music whilst I have
it done in my bed. Some people have a designated chair, but I find
it more comfortable in bed. We have the same equipment that's used
in hospital. Thanks to the training, using it has become second
nature, and we still have a huge amount of support from staff in
the hospital and the community."
That support for Kevin came from Elaine, who still keeps in
regular contact with Kevin, to help ensure he is happy with his
Elaine, who recently won a Southend Hospital Heroes Chairman's
Outstanding Achievement Award for her hard work in implementing
this scheme, said: "I love coming out to review the patients that
I've trained for dialysis at home, because I can see the positive
impact it has had on their lives. I'm proud of every one of them;
the intense training they go through is about three of four months.
They're not clinically trained, so is quite an undertaking. They
have to learn to line and prime a dialysis machine, put their own
access in and do their own drugs.
"It's also much better for patients when they are dialysing
daily because they don't get the build-up of toxins and fluid, the
feedback I have had is amazing, they all just want to say thanks
for giving them their life back. It has given them all a much more
positive outlook on life."