Dialysis unit anniversary

By Seymour Telegraph

Seymour Health marks a significant milestone this month as the health service celebrates 25 years of providing high-quality, locally-based renal dialysis services to patients in the community.

Dialysis provides a life-sustaining renal replacement therapy option for people with end-stage kidney failure.

Once a patient is diagnosed with kidney failure, treatment becomes a necessary and significant part of their life, therefore having access to a local service with competent and qualified staff is highly valued.

Patient treatment typically requires three visits per week, with a minimum of four hours of treatment per visit.

The Seymour Health dialysis service originally started as a small unit in 1993 with only two chairs and older style machines, which required a great deal more manual nursing input than the current dialysis machines.

Since then, the unit has continued to develop with its current location now based at the Seymour Health Cancer-Dialysis Services Unit.

This has enabled the number of allocated spaces to grow from three to six chairs. This change has also supported staff as there are now two staff members per shift and a team-based approach to care.

Associate nurse unit manager Kim Cox, who has been with the service from its inception at Seymour Health, has noticed a number of significant changes during the years.

‘‘There have been huge advancements in machine technology and clinical nursing practices and support,’’ she said.

As a satellite unit of the Royal Melbourne Hospital (Royal Melbourne Kidney Care service), Seymour Health staff are able to access quality training and support as required.

An exciting new development this year has been the employment of renal physiologist Brittany Falkenbach, who is specifically trained to provide dialysis treatment, together with our current nursing staff.

The team have welcomed the addition of Ms Falkenbach’s expertise in this area.

One thing that has clearly remained unchanged over the years is the passion and commitment of staff to try and make the patients’ lives easier.

Local resident and dialysis patient Kay Bodrozic cannot fault the service. She has been receiving dialysis treatment for the past 11 years — first at Epping and for the past two years at Seymour Health — and appreciates the quality and location of the service.

‘‘I wouldn’t be here without the service,’’ she said,

‘‘The staff are excellent and it’s very friendly here. Coming three times a week for treatment at Seymour Health, I feel like they are my second family.’’

The Seymour Health Dialysis Unit has cared for about 39 different clients on a permanent basis during the 25 years, including eight current clients and 15 holiday clients.