Home-based dialysis provides patient freedom

| 20/01/2014

(CNS): A new Dialysis Unit at the Cayman Islands Hospital is now providing a home-based dialysis programme, which, for the patients who are able to use this service, has led to more flexibility in the timing and administration of dialysis treatments and an overall better quality of life. "This programme offers patients the opportunity to take control of their treatment, giving them far greater flexibility and independence,” said HSA Internist and Nephrologist, Dr Nelson Iheonunekwu, explaining that it means that they no longer have to visit the Dialysis Unit three times a week for their treatment. He said the programme takes the form of continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis and automated peritoneal dialysis.

“Patients are trained in how to administer their own dialysis treatments and many undertake their exchanges in the comfort of their own bedroom," Dr Iheonunekwu said. "Additionally,the home-based unit is portable, making it convenient for the patient. Prior to doing their dialysis treatment, patients are instructed to follow the necessary hygiene procedures; the actual exchange takes about 20 minutes. Some patients have to undertake their dialysis every four hours, some every six. The flexibility with the home-based programme means that patients are often able to go to work and live a more normal life."

The doctor advised that studies have shown that there is very little difference in life expectancy of patients who undertake the home-based peritoneal dialysis and those in a hospital-based programme.

“Cayman is unfortunately, like the rest of the Western world, currently seeing an increase in the number of patients suffering from chronic kidney disease," explained Lizzette Yearwood, CEO of the Cayman Islands Health Services Authority. "Our chronic kidney disease and dialysis population has grown exponentially over the years; in 1998 there were 10 dialysis patients compared to 52 patients requiring dialysis in 2012. This represents a 420% increase over a period of just 15 years.” 

“I am pleased to see that a number of our patients are benefitting from this additional service. The Health Services Authority is committed to providing the best possible care to all our patients and stresses the importance of maintaining healthy lifestyles, which is one of the most important tools in the prevention of many chronic diseases. We therefore encourage our patients and the public to adopt healthy habits and lifestyles, thereby reducing their chances of developing chronic illnesses such as chronic kidney disease. In that way the need for dialysis will hopefully be reduced in time.” she said.  

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