Dr Janet Hegarty on Shared Care and its Impact

Recently we held a morning workshop to discuss something called ‘shared care’ in haemodialysis. Shared haemodialysis care has been called a ‘half-way house’ between hospital dialysis and home haemodialysis, offering you as a haemodialysis patient the opportunity to manage some of your treatment for yourself, with the support of clinical staff where you need it. In reality it’s not necessarily even a ‘halfway house’; even doing a fairly small amount of the tasks involved in regular dialysis can change the relationship you have with your unit, your view of yourself, and your experience on the day. Three patients kindly gave up their time with twelve staff to discuss what the impact of doing some elements of your own dialysis care might be. The view was overwhelmingly positive as the picture of the group’s views below shows.

The positive emotions and skills that can come from shared care

The main unit at Salford embarked on a specific project around shared dialysis care in 2013 and went from no patients doing some of their own dialysis related tasks to more than 1 in 6 patients. Once the spotlight turned to other initiatives the way they inevitably do in the NHS – quietly our peer trainer Daniel has been the difference in signing up, co-training and supporting patients over the last three years from anything from a ‘bit of care’ through to full dialysis and going home to look after themselves. Daniel did his own haemodialysis for a number of years before getting his kidney transplant. Sadly further major health problems have struck meaning he can’t sign up for paid work; doing his volunteer role with other kidney patients – he explained at our workshop – gives him purpose and meaning. A local lad when he started on dialysis in his 20s – he was, by his own admission, hardly a saint in adjusting to the lifestyle changes needed to do well! So hearing him look back on that and draw strength and insight to share with other patients in his trainer role was very humbling. It also was part of his story which really highlights why he is so good at what he does. And how no matter how dedicated staff are – a person who has walked in similar shoes can make a different connection with another person facing the same health challenges.

We came away from the workshop with an action list to reboot culture-change on our units so expect some further updates on our progress over the next year. In the meantime – the two things I wanted to ask today are:

  • If you are haemodialysis trained and want to consider signing up as a patient trainer at your local dialysis unit – for as few or as many hours as suits – we would love to hear from you. Full training and regular travel expenses will be offered.
  • If you are currently on haemodialysis and don’t get involved as yet in your dialysis care – you too could benefit from feeling a greater sense of control, an increase in confidence, and knowledge of your condition that helps you live better with it. Our commitment to you as your dialysis team is to help you find out what that ‘right for you’ level of involvement is – and to recognise that that may change. So if you are going through a period of ill health or stress and want ‘time-out’ – we can just get on with meeting your needs during that time too.

So please get in touch to discuss either of the above! Email Robert Ward, our Project Manager, at robert.ward@srft.nhs.uk or myself, Dr Janet Hegarty, at janet.hegarty@srft.nhs.uk. You can also speak to your named nurse, unit sisters or consultant to find out more.

You can read more about shared care here: http://gmkin.org.uk/tag/shared-care

And watch our video explaining what shared care by Salford Royal patients and staff:

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