Every year, 20,000 people in the UK with kidney disease receive dialysis, which usually takes 3-4 hours at a time, 3 times a week.
Although a small proportion of people in the UK manage their own dialysis at home, for most people it requires many hours every week in hospital. Dialysis is therefore a life-saving but demanding routine.
There is evidence that it often leaves people feeling helpless and dependent on hospital staff, as well as having a huge impact on the lives of patients and their families.
This project will rebuild independence, control and flexibility for patients by enabling them to manage their own treatment within hospital. It also aims to transform the relationship between dialysis unit staff and patients, with staff freed up from technical tasks to become health coaches and educators, using the many hours spent in the hospital as an opportunity for building self-management skills and facilitating education and peer support.
Kidney dialysis is an essential but demanding procedure for thousands of people across the country. Because of the nature of the treatment it can disrupt every aspect of a person’s life, and have a major impact on their emotional and economic well being.
There is often little opportunity for indivduals to play an active role in their care, leading to an experience of treatment as inflexible, demotivating and disempowering. Evidence shows that many people enjoy taking an active role in their treatment, and that doing so can lead to better outcomes and improved quality of life.
Self-dialysis has been available to people with kidney disease for many years, in the shape of home haemodialysis, but this is not widespread in the UK, and is unavailable to many whose accommodation is not suitable, who live alone or who lack the confidence to tackle it.
The option of self-dialysis on a medical unit provides a ‘half-way house’ between traditional hospital dialysis and home haemodialysis – offering patients the opportunity to manage their treatment for themselves, with the support of clinical staff where they need it. Some may later choose to move on to home dialysis.