Page 7 - NKF_KL issue 18_Winter 2017_for web
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O        n dialysis days, I have to get up early as my driver   At the end of the session, the machine plays music to alert

                   picks me up at 7.00AM. Some mornings I feel fine
                                                               the staff that we are finished. They bring plasters, gauze and
                   but other times I really do not and wish I could turn
                                                               tape with them in order to remove the needles whilst stemming
                                                               the blood loss from our fistulas.  We have to have our blood
                   over and stay in bed. But I know that I have to get
                                                               pressure checked again to ensure that we are well enough to
                   up and go to dialysis whether I feel up to it or not.
                                                               leave the unit.  We also have to weigh-in again to ensure that all
          I usually have the same driver which is good and makes me feel
                                                               the excess fluid has been removed.
          relaxed.  They know that I am not too good on my legs and that
          sometimes I feel pretty rough.                       For those of us mobile enough we walk out to the car park to
 Kernow Clinical Commissioning Group prepares  A day in my life as a patient on unit based haemodialysis

 to charge dialysis patients for essential  at the Royal Cornwall Hospital (Treliske) in Cornwall


 transport to and from their dialysis unit  By Joanna Roberts  meet our normal driver.  But the majority of us do not feel well

                                                               enough to do this so wait in the unit to be collected.  When
          The driver will ask if I am okay and try to raise my spirits on the
                                                               the driver arrives, they ask us how we are feeling and how the
          journey to the unit.  Having someone you know drive you to
                                                               session went so they can gauge how chatty we will are likely be
          dialysis is a big thing for all of us patients as they are a familiar,
                                                               in the journey home. The drivers either drop us as close to our
          friendly face and they know about our other health issues and
                                                               homes as they possibly can or, if they know we are unsteady on
          mobility problems..
                                                               our feet they escort us to our front door.
          When we reach the unit the driver escorts me to the dialysis
                                                               So our dialysis session really starts and finishes at our doorstep
          unit waiting room. We all have to weigh in to check how much
                                                               and without a familiar driver being aware of and understanding
          fluid we have built up in our body since we last dialysed so the
                                                               our condition in much the same way a friend might, our whole
          nurses can calculate how much fluid we need to have removed.
                                                               dialysis session would become very stressful.  There is a lot to
          Then each patient is called up in turn to be attached to their
                                                               be said for a friendly and understanding driver.
          machine.  We all have our blood pressure checked before
          starting treatment to ensure it isn’t too high or too low before   Kernow CCG plans to make patients pay for their own travel to
          the excess fluid we are carrying starts to be removed.  and from the dialysis unit.  Some of us received a letter telling us
                                                               this was about to happen just two weeks before the policy was
                                                               due to be implemented, but most patients did not and it came
                                                               as a terrible shock.  Those patients who did not receive a letter
                                                               were told that it must have been lost by the Post Office.
                                                               If this travel policy is brought in, our whole dialysis day will
                                                               change.

                                                               I will get up early as usual, not knowing the person booked to
                                                               pick me up or where they are coming from.  If they are not local
                                                               to me, I will be charged extra (to cover their journey to me) even
                                                               before we begin the journey to the unit.  I will have had the
                                                               added stress of remembering to book my own transport and the
                                                               knowledge that I have been charged a booking fee.  If there is
                                                               another patient travelling with me we could, in theory share the
          Me with my driver Larry Tonkin
                                                               travel costs.  But at the moment I’m the only dialysis patient in
          For anyone who has never been in a dialysis unit before, the   my area.  The cost of travelling to dialysis 3 times a week will be
          needles will look enormous but to us longer term patients they   approximately £75.00 per week  I looked into saving money by
          are an everyday part of our life.  A few patients require numbing   only travelling to the unit and having my husband collect me but
          spray before the needles can be inserted.  The nurse brings a   this didn’t work out as I was advised that I would be charged for
          trolley to your station with everything they need.  The nurses   both journeys whether I travelled both ways or not.
          are very friendly and always ask how we are feeling, if we are ok
                                                               If I am going to struggle to pay these travel costs, many others
          and if there were any issues since our last session.
                                                               are also going to struggle too.  Patients are going to be forced
          If we are lucky we will have a trouble free session.  But this is   to rethink their priorities as they budget and choose between
          not always the case – our blood pressure can drop making us   attending their dialysis session, buying food or paying bills.  This
          feel dizzy and generally very unwell, we can ‘clot’ while on the   will no doubt cost lives as many older patients will just give up
          machine which can cause a circuit loss.  This also affects our   on their dialysis.  I believe this to be totally wrong and inhuman.
          blood pressure.                                      It must be stopped.
                                                              HELPLINE  0800 169 09 36   www.kidney.org.uk   Winter  2017   7
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