Making dialysis care more person-centred

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In this blog Paul Laboi, consultant nephrologist, describes how staff in the dialysis unit at York Teaching Hospitals introduced a programme of shared care for haemodialysis as a way of helping people to take more control of their care and creating a new relationship between patients and their health professionals.

Since introducing the programme, patients have reported greater control over their illness, an increase in confidence, and that they felt more able to ask questions about their treatment. Staff have reported an increase in job satisfaction and greater respect for patients.

Staff explored how care could be more person-centred.  Through the shared care programme, nurses and other health care professionals offer support to patients to help them independently perform routine aspects of their dialysis treatment, which they would previously have not been in control of, such as measuring their weight, taking their blood pressure, and inserting needles as part of setting up and connecting themselves to their own individual dialysis machines.

Giving patients more control to handle their own care has in turn allowed health care professionals to spend more time with patients who needed more support, or who were not able to participate in the shared care programme.

Since the initial success in the Yorkshire and the Humber region, the team have made resources publicly available, and the shared haemodialysis care programme has been adopted by many units across the UK, including in Bristol, Wolverhampton, London, Liverpool, and Sunderland.

The team has also developed dedicated self-care units in holiday locations, such as Whitby, to help patients administer their own care while on holiday and without needing to visit a hospital. Some patients have even been equipped with dialysis machines at home, which has been transformative for many.

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