Press release

Home dialysis service transforms the lives of patients with chronic kidney disease

Published: 14 December 2023

Updated: 31 January 2024


Information:

Hospital-level care being provided at home helps avoid 45,000 hospital visits a year.

Home dialysis is transforming the lives of many patients with chronic kidney disease, reducing the need for regular hospital appointments. New developments in care mean that more people are supported to have this home treatment.

Renal patients can manage their treatment at home, at a time that suits them, with the use of a dialysis machine. Their healthcare team is on hand to help and support them too. This home dialysis support service is being rolled out in all renal units across the country, with improved access to dietitian care. The service includes pre-dialysis education for patients and community support through home visits.

Godfrey Dey from Dublin recently began home dialysis. Speaking at a recent HSE event, he highlighted the positive impact this treatment has had on his quality of life. He outlined:

“It’s a fantastic service. Home dialysis supports me to keep working. I can’t imagine why anyone would want to do it in a hospital if they have the option to do it at home. I was worried about the machine in the beginning. But the support I receive from the team in Tallaght is 11 out of 10! They are always there whenever you need them.”

Key benefits include:

  • In 2022, 100,000 home dialysis therapy treatments were delivered to patients, avoiding over 45,000 hospital visits, which can last for four to five hours each.
  • Patients do not have to spend time travelling to appointments, have a lower risk of infection, and can decide when to receive their treatment.
  • Patients can opt to have their treatment at night, freeing up time during the day, and can bring the equipment with them to continue treatment on holiday if required.

Professor George Mellotte, National Clinical Lead for Renal Services, explained:

“Home dialysis therapy offers substantial improvement to the quality of life for patients and their families, and means that people on dialysis avoid 150 hospital visits a year. We provide full information about what’s involved and ensure that treatment at home is a collaboration between the person receiving treatment and the healthcare team. Home dialysis provides flexibility to people so that they can manage their treatment in the comfort of their own homes and at a time that suits them. It has also been proven to reduce the risk of patients developing infections including COVID-19.”

Home dialysis is open to most renal patients but there are some situations it is not suitable. Currently, 12% of patients receive home dialysis but the hope is to increase this to 20%.

This expanded service is one of 36 new care pathways introduced by the HSE to deliver accessible and person-centred care.

Speaking about the new care pathways, Dr Colm Henry, Chief Clinical Officer, HSE, said:

“Modernised care pathways enable healthcare innovation and integration, supporting the changing needs of our population. The implementation of these pathways, designed by our National Clinical Programmes, is a key aspect of healthcare reform and is consistent with the principles of Sláintecare.

Their successful implementation, which is being led by the Strategic Programmes Office, is due to the collaboration and commitment of a wide range of staff across services, providing care closer to home and reducing waiting lists.”


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