Overnight dialysis programme helps kidney patients get on with their lives

Posted by Communications Team on 7 August 2018 |


A new programme offered by Counties Manukau Health is giving more time back to patients who need dialysis.

Nocturnal Dialysis was introduced at Middlemore Hospital earlier this year for patients experiencing kidney failure who require regular dialysis treatment.

Patients who dialyse at hospital usually receive dialysis for five hours three times a week, but by the time travel and set up time is included this essentially takes up the whole day. Under the nocturnal dialysis programme patients are now able to receive eight hours of treatment in hospital overnight while they sleep. This allows patients to get on with their lives during weekdays, including continuing to work and meet family commitments, according to renal consultant Chris Hood.

The programme has taken about a year to get up and running.  To make it sustainable the patients selected are trained to set up the dialysis machines themselves and become more independent in their care. This has allowed the programme to run with no need for extra funding, Dr Hood says.

Under the programme, an area in the Scott Dialysis Unit has been set aside with beds for six patients.  Recently this was extended from six to 12 patients  The patients arrive at the hospital at about 8pm and after setting up settle in for eight hours of dialysis before finishing at 5am. Two nurses are present to monitor patients and help with the more technically challenging aspects of dialysis.

Dr Hood says the hope is that some patients will use this extra training as a kick start to achieving full independence and operating their dialysis by themselves.

“The benefits of Nocturnal Dialysis for patients can be huge. Many have work and family commitments which they struggle to meet with weekday dialysis sessions. This option frees up large chunks of their life,” Dr Hood says.  “Many of the patients have also noticed that they feel much healthier as well”. 

Dr Hood hopes to be able to expand the program as demand increases

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