LEARNING CURVE: Joanne Ashford teaches patient Mindy Knipers how to dialyse.
LEARNING CURVE: Joanne Ashford teaches patient Mindy Knipers how to dialyse. Sid Russell

Home tests ease travel for dialysis patients

AS Mindy Knipers nears the end of her 12-week training period to learn how to dialyse at home, she can barely contain her excitement.

The Cannonvale woman is one of the first to go through Mackay's new community renal service on the ground floor of the Community Health Centre in Nelson St which teaches patients how to use peritoneal and haemodialysis machines at home in a bid to make a patient's quality of life better.

"When I was offered to come to this I was so excited. I don't have to travel, that's a big plus for me," Ms Knipers said.

"It (learning how to use the machine) gets easier - you get to have your independence back.

"I look forward to being able to do it (dialyse) at night."

Ms Kniper's kidney disease was due to doctor error; she was prescribed the drug gentamicin which was not monitored properly and as a result it attacked her kidneys and vestibular system.

She has travelled to Mackay three times a week for dialysis since her first treatment on December 10, 2012.

The new service will save hours of travelling for patients who previously had to travel to Townsville for the training to home dialyse.

And Queensland Health is footing the bill for both types of machines.

Mackay Base Hospital renal unit home therapies manager Joanne Ashford said learning how to use the machines was "a big learning curve" for patients.

"I believe it's intimidating (when they first see the machine) but we pace the training at the patient's level... they guide us with how quickly they pick it up," Ms Ashford said. "A couple of those live quite a number of hours away and that improves their quality of life." About 27% of people in Mackay with kidney failure already home dialyse, and the goal is to increase this to 40%.

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