September 28, 2023

Ten years of renal services

Northern Health Renal Service has come a long way since its inception 10 years ago.

Cheryl Rofe, NUM Inpatient Dialysis Unit (IDU) and Epping Satellite Dialysis Unit, stated, “Renal dialysis at Northern Health commenced as a small satellite unit from the Royal Melbourne Hospital,” she said.

“Dr David Barit, Head of Nephrology, developed a case for a four-bed inpatient dialysis unit, in what is now Ward 4. As Northern Health grew, the need for the health service to have its own renal hub emerged. We now have a 12-bay inpatient unit and satellite units in Epping, Broadmeadows and Craigieburn, along with the Home Dialysis Training Unit.”

“Prior to 2013, only one patient per day, was able to receive dialysis at the Northern Hospital Epping. Support services for patients with chronic kidney disease and end stage kidney disease were close to non-existent,” Dr Barit said.

These services have now increased to support over 200 dialysis patients, and approximately 1,200 patients in our renal outpatient clinics. A record 50 patients are now receiving dialysis at home.

In August 2013, Northern Home Dialysis Training Unit (HDTU) opened at Epping Private Medical Centre.

Priscila Angeles, NUM, HDTU, says, “When I started, home dialysis had about 24 patients. Not a lot of patients were interested in having home dialysis at that time. However, we saw a significant increase in interest during COVID-19, as patients wished to have their treatment in the safety of their own home.”

Priscila believes that patient education is a key factor in assisting patients to choose which treatments best suit their needs.

“In the last two years, there have been marked improvements in patient satisfaction. This has motivated the staff to work even harder to maintain care and safety of an increasing number of patients at home. Along with Northern Health reaching 10 years as a Renal Service Hub, HDTU has proudly reached the big 50 in patient numbers!”

Main image shows:

Front row L-R: Henry Tran (Chronic Kidney Disease Coordinator) Dr David Barit (Head of Nephrology) Lucia Bento (Site Director/Director of Nursing, Broadmeadows Hospital, Craigieburn Centre and Renal Services) Cheryl Rofe (NUM Epping).

Back row L-R: Priscila Angeles (NUM HDTU), Judy Harris (Dialysis Co-ord), Aileen Tan (NUM Broadmeadows Hospital/Craigieburn Centre), Shiela Balakas (RN HDTU), Mario Besic (Renal Pharmacist), Mabelle Yosores (RN HDTU), Lincy Paul (RN HDTU).

Inset: Faridah Mercado, RN and Troy Vergara RN with a Kilmore haemodialysis patient.