Wednesday, 11 October, 2017

The long held plans for a new Dialysis Therapies Centre at Beaumont Hospital came to pass in February of this year, when the renal dialysis unit moved from its former location in St Martins, on the hospital’s lower ground floor, to a new custom built premises above the Ashlinn Centre.

The planning for the €6m dedicated outpatient unit has been in the pipeline since the late 1990s. At that point, the then twenty station unit in St Martin’s was bursting at the seams. The dialysis unit operated 24 hours a day to provide five shifts of dialysis to patients, many of whom would have travelled long distances for treatment - some getting up in the middle of the night to arrive for a 3.30am dialysis slot.

The new, thirty four station, outpatient renal dialysis unit operates three shifts daily, operating from 7am to11pm six days a week, and will increase capacity for provision of renal dialysis to outpatients at Beaumont Hospital by 55%. A link corridor connects the new unit to the mainhospital, facilitating the safe transfer of patients who need to go there for either investigations, treatments or admission. And in the new centre, comfort is king for patients, many of whom will be attending three or four days a week until they receive a kidney transplant or, insome cases, for the rest of their lives.

A typical dialysis session takes 4-5 hours to complete during which patients are hooked up to the dialysis machines and unable to move around. Each dialysis station has a dedicated smart TV with free WiFi access to which patients can attach their headphones to help pass the time. The stations in the new Dialysis Therapies Centre are much more spacious allowing for greater patient privacy and better access for medical and nursing staff. The majority of beds are electric allowing patients freedom to alter their sitting and lying positions without assistance from staff. And bright lighting creates a cheery environment for all.

From a nursing point of view, the unit now has four isolation rooms with ensuite bathrooms which allow nursing staff to segregate patients who develop infections and care for them in a controlled environment. There are dedicated areas for setting up dialysis, a purpose built storage room and a walk-in linen room. Overall, hygiene has been vastly improved with a hand washing sink provided for every two beds in the unit. Formerly, the concentrate used in dialysis came bottled with the storage and management of the supply taking up space and requiring a lot of manual handling. Now, 90% of the concentrate used is supplied by a tanker which refills the storage tanks on a weekly basis.

Veronica Francis, CNM3 Haemodialysis Services who manages the unit says, “It has been exciting to be part of the multidisciplinary team, making decisions and choices about both clinical and technical matters. We have spent several years reviewing plans to ensure that we have created the optimal facility for both patients and staff. I am very proud of the result and the development of this state-of-the art unit".