SOUTH AFRICA – National Renal Care has established NRC KidneyKidz to serve the needs of paediatric renal patients in a family-centred, caring environment.

National Renal Care has a network of 71 dedicated dialysis units around South Africa. The unit offers chronic haemodialysis, peritoneal dialysis, and a mobile acute care team on call for in-hospital acute therapies.

“Many people think of kidney disease as being a concern only for older people, however, both children and adults can suffer kidney failure, with dialysis becoming a necessary part of life for those families,” says paediatric nephrologist Errol Gottlich, who oversees the NRC KidneyKidz unit at Rochester Place, Sandton.

“Paediatric dialysis is a rare medical requirement, with an incidence of five to 10 new cases per million children, yet it is nothing less than life saving for the children who need it.

“The kidneys are vital in purifying the blood and maintaining the necessary balance in our body. When the kidneys cannot fulfil this function, the person requires regular dialysis to artificially remove toxins from their body.”

The new unit uses the advanced digital healthcare technology of National Renal Care’s NephrOn system, which enhances patient safety and multidisciplinary collaboration through electronic medical records.

“The children usually need two or three dialysis sessions per week, for three to four hours at a time. This is a considerable amount of time in a family’s busy schedule, so we try to make this unit a home away from home,” Gottlich said.

“Many children sleep during dialysis sessions but we have fun activities, games, and TV programmes to help them pass the time. We also have refreshments and workstations for parents or family members to carry on with their work commitments during their child’s dialysis sessions.”

A multidisciplinary team looks after patients’ medical and surgical needs, including access to a dietician where needed. This is in addition to NRC’s value-added services, including nutritional guidelines, patient education and support groups for patients and their families.

“Through the secure NephrOn platform, the treating specialists, NRC nurses and other healthcare practitioners involved in a patient’s care can access and check on each of their patients, as the system automatically records clinically relevant data, as well as medical notes and additional context, which are accessible to the treating medical team remotely by means of a mobile device,” said Chevon Clark, chief executive officer of NRC.

Goltich promises that there shall be a consistency of care. “Data collected on treatment, process and outcome measures are submitted to NRC’s database, called NephrOn, and the Discovery kidney care programme is an extra measure to ensure the quality and consistency of care delivered to our patients,” he said.

“This ensures that the care provided is aligned to best practice and guided to provide the best possible outcomes for all our patients.”

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