Home dialysis offers patients 'freedom'

Mackay Base Hospital nephrologist Dr Roy Cherian attends to renal patient Mindy Knipers at the Mackay Base Hospital.
Mackay Base Hospital nephrologist Dr Roy Cherian attends to renal patient Mindy Knipers at the Mackay Base Hospital. Peter Holt

CANNONVALE woman Mindy Knipers drives to and from Mackay three times a week for her dialysis treatment.

She then spends four hours each time hooked up to a dialysis machine that cleans her blood.

Being able to treat herself at home would be life-changing.

Mindy has been on dialysis for six months.

Her kidney failure was the result of a Sydney doctor mistakenly prescribing her the drug gentamicin in 2005, Mindy said.

She is an excellent candidate to learn how to dialyse herself at home as part of Mackay's new community renal service.

The Department of Health donated $900,000 to the Mackay Base Hospital, to be used for 10 new renal dialysis machines and associated infrastructure on the ground floor of the Community Health Centre in Nelson St.

There will be six dialysis chairs used by otherwise well patients who would generally attend the hospital three times a week for haemodialysis, as well as two training rooms to teach kidney patients how to care for themselves at home on dialysis.

There are two types of home dialysis - peritoneal dialysis and haemodialysis.

Mindy said this would have a "tremendous" effect on her lifestyle.

"Because then I can schedule it myself at any time of the day. I can do it in the evening if I wanted. I can do it at night when I'm sleeping. It gives you more freedom," Mindy said.

"I wouldn't have to be driving back and forth. It's really difficult to drive that distance."

Mindy hasn't taken the course yet, but she has been looking after her own dialysis at the hospital for the past two months.

About 20% of people in Mackay with kidney failure already dialyse at home. The goal is to increase this to 40%.

Topics:  dialysis mackay base hospital

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