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.

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