In October 2016 the first ever child went home on Haemodialysis. This new approach to dialysis illustrates the way forward in health care – hospital care when it is needed, but using developments in treatment to move more care closer to home. For children and young people Kidney Kids Scotland are of the opinion that this is a quality treatment that fits in with the needs and interests of the patient. This service is now fully operational and the charity would like to extend this service to as many children and their families as possible.
WHY HOME HEOMODIALYSIS
At the moment any child in Scotland who requires haemodialysis must travel to The Royal Hospital for Children in Glasgow, irrespective of where they live. This treatment, though life saving is extremely disruptive for many families. Children have to miss school and many activities with their friends, families have to endure long and often expensive journeys and in some cases have to relocate entirely to be nearer to the dialysis centre.
Home Heomodialysis is as it would suggest - haemodialyis carried out in the home environment. This method of dialysing has multiple benfits. Due to the flexibility of where and when to dialyse there is a much improved quality of life with children and young adults being able to participate fully in school, work, family and social activities. Due to less restrictions on diet and fluid intake patients on home haemodialysis have a much more varied and enjoyable diet. Apart from the substantial psychological benefits, it is proven that recipients of this method of dialysis have better clinical outcomes such as reduced medication and improved blood pressure.
Kidney Kids Scotland are dedicated to extend this service to as many Scottish children as possible. The charity have agreed to fund the specialist nurse for three years costing £45,950 per annum.
This post will not be ward based but will focus on where the dialysis need exists at the time, for example a new patient eligible for Home Haemodialysis within the Highland area. The post will compliment and support our existing home nurse specialists and work very closely with the specialist haemodialysis team within the unit in Glasgow. This nurse will offer the families comprehensive training on one of the Home Haemodialysis machines already purchased by Kidney Kids Scotland in order for them to become confident and self-reliant with the equipment and procedure. The length of training varies, depending on the individual - it could be from 6 to 16 weeks or longer. When the nurse is confident with the family and patient’s ability to carry out this treatment, arrangements by the NHS will then be made for the hire of a home haemodialysis machine for each individual family for as long as is needed. There will be a support team available to the family once home 24hrs per day.
One of the charity’s main goals since its inception in 2000 is to ensure that Scottish children with renal illness receive treatment as close to home as possible. This project is by far the largest commitment the charity has ever taken on, but we feel the difference that it could make to the most chronically ill children that we help would be life changing, not only for the child facing a kidney transplant but for the whole family.
Even although Home haemodialysis treatment is now an option it does not distract for the need of the Paediatric Haemodialysis unit within the hospital for Scottish children. Unfortunately Home Haemodialysis is not suitable for every child.