The introduction of a satellite clinic to treat dialysis patients may ease some of the pressure off the Artificial Kidney Unit (AKU) at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH).
Dr Lisa Belle, consultant nephrologist, said the QEH was working towards this practice, already the norm in First World countries, which had the potential benefit of bringing ease to the island’s tertiary health care facility, given its expanding dialysis programme.
Belle said the satellite clinic, a health care facility operated under the auspices of a large institution but in a different location, allowed dialysis patients who were in stable condition, the independence of managing their medical situation on their own, at times.
“The acute care for very ill patients who still need to be monitored very closely by physicians would be done primarily in the hospital. But for patients who are quite stable, [they] can put their needles in themselves and set up their machines and perform dialysis on their own – and this can be done in a satellite unit,” she explained.
The consultant said that the introduction of the satellite clinic should not be misinterpreted as the hospital’s shying away from holding the responsibility of monitoring and supporting patients, but rather seen as the facility decentralizing the management of patients.
“We are not quite there yet, but we are still working on it. Dialysis as a whole can be decentralized to polyclinics and any suitable facility where we can get adequate water treatment and we have our ancillary support services there when the patient needs them,” Dr Belle said.
Dr Belle made these remarks to the media today after the donation of a new state-of-the-art Continuous Renal Replacement Therapy (CRRT) machine to the Surgical Intensive Care Unit at QEH, just one day before World Kidney Day has been slated to be celebrated.
The portable customized machine provides safe and effective treatment to patients managed at the hospital who have chronic kidney disease and renal disease. It also has the advantage of providing blood therapies for patients who have blood disorders, and also has the feature to carry out toxin removals resulting from accidental poisoning.
Belle explained that the machine would benefit a special subgroup of patients who might have kidney injury as a complication of their illness and do not respond well to the current conventional haemodialysis available. In addition to that, she said that the machine would ease the hospital’s current set-up which does not allow for the portability of dialysis, making it difficult to transport some patients to the main floor for dialysis.
Neil Weekes, general manger of C.O.Williams Construction Limited, said that the presentation was being made in memory of former general manger Roger Gooding who suffered from kidney failure and would have benefited from this type of equipment. Minister of Health of Health John Boyce said that the donation which was greatly appreciated would go towards putting in place, a better management regime for Barbadians of all walks of life who may from time to time become afflicted by kidney disease.
“When we get donations, like this kind gesture from C.O. Williams, we are really appreciative, and we want to encourage the consultants here at the hospital to continue to help us in our search for useful partners in obtaining special equipment to help us to deal with the many cases in Barbados as we fight the scourge of disease generally,” said Boyce.