Long hospital visits have become a thing of the past for a group of Essex kidney dialysis patients, who started to receive their treatment at home during the Covid-19 pandemic.
A total of 30 patients have been trained in how to use their dialysis machines for their kidney care at home, giving them more independence and freedom.
Patients are initially trained to use dialysis machines on the renal wards at Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust, and given back up support when they start treatment at home.
One Basildon Hospital patient, Linda Charge, from Billericay, praised the service for making her feel more secure during lockdown last year.
The 77-year-old, who has a course of three dialysis treatments a week, said: “I can fit the dialysis around my own life without leaving home. I read, or go through emails; I can even have a little sleep. I wouldn’t feel like I could have done that at the hospital, being at home makes such a big change.
“My niece comes round once a week to sit with me when I am having treatment, which is lovely. I wouldn’t have had that privilege if I was having the treatment at the hospital due to the restrictions of visitors and the pandemic.”
Originally patients would visit Basildon, Broomfield or Southend hospitals for their renal treatment, which could take up to four hours to cleanse their blood, several times a week.
Now, with specialist training from home dialysis nurses, patients can adjust their treatment to fit their own lifestyles without having to travel to hospital.
Santhy Gopalan, a sister at the renal unit at Basildon Hospital, trains patients to use the life-saving dialysis machines. She was also the person who trained Linda.
Santhy, who was recently nominated for a staff award for her work, said: “Having dialysis is a life-long condition, with home dialysis they can sit and watch TV or just sit and spend some quality time with their family.
“They have the freedom to select what time they have their treatment so they don’t have to stick to a certain time appointment, like they do at the renal unit. It gives the patient a better quality of life.”