MEDIA RELEASES

Planning for emergencies when you are on Home-Based Dialysis

The second gathering of renal outpatients who live in remote situations and require dialysis for diabetes took place in Kerikeri on Tuesday November 1 thanks to the Contact Energy Renal Fund.

The Contact Energy Renal Fund Seminar gathered over 30 people including 16 patients to give everyone an opportunity to share their experiences of living independently while being prepared for emergencies, especially the impact of power cuts on dialysis equipment. Social isolation was another theme discussed.

Around morning tea and lunch, there were discussions of travel and holiday with dialysis, advance care planning with a Māori perspective, and how to balance dialysis with life, work and family.

Contact Energy decided to put funds into an endowment to support home-based dialysis in 2009. It was decided to offer support in the form of a fund rather than investing in new equipment, following input from patients and Northland DHB. Contact Energy initially gifted $25,000 to establish the Renal Fund.

Contact Energy’s Community Relations Manager Rossanne Jollands said the fund was a way Contact could make a real difference for people in the community, bringing to life its prupose of helping them live more comfortably with energy.

“We wanted to help our customers whose lives literally depend on our services – and equip them with what they need to independently get through a situation which sees them without power. It’s great to see the positive impact this is having in the community,” she said.

Managed by the Northland Foundation, the endowment has grown to more than $33,000. This hardship fund can be given to patients at the discretion of the Northland DHB social workers via referral. The fund also pays for seminars like that which was held in Kerikeri.

At the seminar, patient Lois Samuels said her dialysis situation is particularly hard since her husband has passed away.  Lois said she has anxiety about who she will call if something goes wrong. “I do worry. But I thoroughly enjoyed it today. You don’t realise there are so many people that dialyse. I’m not alone, especially with social workers Nicolette [Crump] and Anna [Stewardson]. I look forward to people to talk to and I would certainly like to see today happen again.” 

Patient Frances Lazarus, from the remote settlement of Te Hapua, east of Cape Reinga, said she attended the seminar to learn more about home dialysis and how she can help herself at home. “I learnt about how to prepare for when it is my time (Advanced Care Planning), it is really important that I talk about things that are important to me.  I enjoyed having Anna and Nicolette giving us time to share with others and learn about others’ home life and learning about what it’s like for them to dialysis at home.” 

“We’ve had a few power cuts [in Te Hapua], one lasted nine hours, so it’s fortunate we have dialysis home packs that we can depend on. We have purchased a generator and have used that. Thanks to Contact Energy for being there to help.”



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