Revealed: Tipperary kidney patients benefit from home dialysis

Two Tipperary people are part of an initiative by University Hospital Limerick

Tipperary Star reporter

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Two Tipperary people are part of an initiative by University Hospital Limerick that allows home dialysis for those suffering chronic kidney disease.

Home dialysis is transforming the lives of patients, improving quality of life through efficient treatment modes and schedules that can be adapted to people’s domestic and working lives, and reducing frequency of hospital visits for the patient.

At a time when some 85-90% of the 200-220 patients receiving dialysis treatment for chronic kidney failure are doing so in-centre at UHL, making it one of Ireland’s busiest haemodialysis services, the hospital’s Department of Renal Medicine team continues to promote home-based dialysis as the best option for patients requiring the treatment.

Among those availing of it is Pat Stapleton, 73, a driving instructor from Thurles, who has been diabetic since the age of 40.

He opted for peritoneal dialysis when he figured out how to schedule the regular four-times daily treatment around his work schedule.

“If I go to the hospital, I’m tied up, but I’ve been able to work around my work. I would recommend this treatment to anyone. I’m getting through life, and it suits me,” he said.

Rory McKenzie, 50, lives just outside Tipperary Town with his wife Sheila, and two sons Ricky and Ross.

Unlike Pat, he opted for haemodialysis at home, four sessions per week, for four hours each time after having spent some time receiving the treatment in UHL.

“I don’t have to go into hospital as often as I did when I was in the centre,” Rory said.

“It’s the travel time; it’s the being away from home. It eats up most of your day. It would probably take about six hours out of your time, and it affected my family life, really. The benefit of being at home is that I have plenty of family time. It’s as close to normal life as I can have, and that’s the most important thing for me,” he said.

Dr Liam Casserly, lead nephrologist in the department said: “Patients tell us that home treatments provide a quality of life that comes closest to their normal routines.”

And during the Covid-19 pandemic, Dr Casserly explained, home dialysis therapies had been advantageous for patients.

“The pandemic has brought great challenges for everyone, but unlike patients who have to come to the in-centre haemodialysis unit, patients who are doing the treatment at home have been safely able to isolate during the peak of the pandemic and over the past few months. This is just one example of the advantages of home therapies. While this isn’t a primary reason to choose it, it again demonstrates the flexibility patients have when they choose home therapies," he said.