Support needed for dialysis patients
‘‘There are a lot of people that are giving up. ’’
Queenstown-based kidney patient Paul Baker lives in a small room in a care home. Half of the room is filled with his dialysis equipment.
Baker, 49, was diagnosed with a serious kidney condition six years ago.
Since then he has spent six hours a day on a dialysis machine and spent months in Dunedin receiving intensive dialysis training.
Now his wife has left him and he is living alone in the Bupa Lake Wakatipu Care Home - an elderly person’s home.
He is one of five haemodialysis patients and three peritoneal dialysis patients in Central Otago and he says they need support.
‘‘There are a lot of people that are giving up. We need a support person to look over us,’’ he said.
He believes the Southern District Health Board should be providing more support in terms of counselling for patients and their families.
Mother of four children Cell Mikere, of Queenstown, who was diagnosed with kidney dialysis 27 years ago, said a support group would make a big difference.
‘‘I think it’s about meeting with other families and knowing what they are going through,’’ she said.
Baker has been living at the care home for a few months.
He is happy enough but is responsible for his own dialysis as the nurses are not trained to assist with dialysis care.
He and the other kidney patients have to travel to Dunedin for check-ups every six months or in case of emergencies.
Baker has had three emergency trips to Dunedin already, with his kidney failing.
Southern DHB’s nephrologist John Schollum said Queenstown didn’t have a dialysis consultant due to the small number of patients in the area.
Haemodialysis patients stay in Dunedin for at least three months of intensive training to learn the home-dialysis model of care.
Baker says the time in Dunedin was responsible for the breakdown of his marriage.
‘‘My main concern is once you walk out of those doors you are on your own.’’
Schollum recognised being away from home during training period could be difficult. The board did not provide a statement before the Mirror deadline confirming if counselling sessions for dialysis patients and their families would be funded.
Kidney dialysis patient Paul Baker in his Bupa Lake Wakatipu Care Home room in Queenstown.