News

Long road for dialysis

EDUCATOR: Elder Patsy Bunjulahm Nagas on her home dialysis machine.
EDUCATOR: Elder Patsy Bunjulahm Nagas on her home dialysis machine.

BUNDJALUNG Elder Patsy Bundjulahm (Butterfly) Nagas is concerned that the Northern Rivers is under-resourced for dialysis patients and that as our population ages the situation is going to get worse.

There are dialysis units at Lismore, Grafton, Tweed and Ballina hospitals, meaning patients from inland areas like Bonalbo, Tabulam, Drake, Urbenville and Malabugilmah face long distances to get treatment.

"Some Elders at Tabulam and Drake don't have their own transport, so they are forced to hitch a ride to Casino, then catch the dialysis cab to Lismore hospital, spend the day on the machine, then back to Tabulam, which means sometimes they don't get home until 1am in the morning," Aunty Patsy said. "At this stage they are drained by having been on dialysis, so some go to relations in Casino to sleep, then go home, pack up and do it again the day after.

"We definitely need machines in Casino and Kyogle."

Aunty Patsy is a member of the community reference advisory group that has been meeting for the past three years at the Casino Aboriginal Medical Service and does her own dialysis at home.

"We need a support group with the patients and also staff because we get depressed and lonely very quickly, like any chronic disease patients, but because you are tied to a machine you don't have a life," she said.

Liz Rix has been meeting with the group and is soon to present her PhD thesis on providing better dialysis services for Aboriginal patients in the Northern Rivers. She has also met with doctors, nursing staff and necrologists (kidney specialists) and is doing her research through the Sydney University School of Public Health.

Aunty Patsy said it would be helpful if medical staff had cross-cultural training, so they better understood how to help Aboriginal patients.

"What I would encourage is for more people to learn how to do home dialysis. The staff from the Ballina unit are beautiful and on call 24-7," she said. "If you can learn to do it at home, it means you get a bit of a life.

"What is needed is more prevention of chronic disease. We recently did a walk from Casino to Kyogle to support heart disease, cancer, diabetes and kidney disease.

"It's about having a proper diet and exercise."

Chief executive of the Northern NSW Local Health District, Chris Crawford said they had two strategies for helping people in outlying areas.

"One is enhanced services for home dialysis patients because home dialysis provides people with the very good dialysis. It means renal patients can dialysis in the comfort of their own home, either overnight or when it best fits in with their daily routine," he said.

Mr Crawford said they have increased the number of outreach nurses who are available to support people on home dialysis therapy.

The other strategy is education.

"Education is the key to preventing kidney disease. We have recruited a chronic kidney disease nurse practitioner and renal case managers to work with general practitioners and other medical and nursing services to improve awareness of kidney disease to help people with kidney disease look after them, so they hopefully will never need to go on a dialysis machine," Mr Crawford said.


Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

These local movies will shine at 10th Byron Film Festival

LOCAL STORIES: One of the films featured this year is The Bentley Effect, a documentary about the Bentley Blockade.

THIS year marks a milestone for the Byron Bay Film Festival

Graceful Russian ballerinas will perform Swan Lake

ON STAGE: The Russian National Ballet Theatre brings their production of Swan Lake, the full length classical performance.

The Russian National Ballet Theatre is coming soon

Baird dogged by fears greyhound ban will cost Nationals seat

Mike Baird may hold off on implementing the greyhound racing ban until 2020 as he tries to woo voters back into the National fold before the Orange by-election.

Could Orange by-election force Baird to delay greyhound racing ban?

Local Partners

Junior golfer makes the most of regional opportunity

Forget the HSC< Murwillumbah school leaver Lucas Higgins has the biggest test of his golfing career on the horizon.

It's time to get your shorts on the big screen

ANIMATED: Citizen To Activist, an animation by David Lowe and Eve Jeffrey, won the Jury Award for best Short Film at Flickerfest 2015 - Byron AllShorts.

Entries for Flickerfest 2017 and Byron All Shorts are now open

These local movies will shine at 10th Byron Film Festival

LOCAL STORIES: One of the films featured this year is The Bentley Effect, a documentary about the Bentley Blockade.

THIS year marks a milestone for the Byron Bay Film Festival

Graceful Russian ballerinas will perform Swan Lake

ON STAGE: The Russian National Ballet Theatre brings their production of Swan Lake, the full length classical performance.

The Russian National Ballet Theatre is coming soon

Baird dogged by fears greyhound ban will cost Nationals seat

Mike Baird may hold off on implementing the greyhound racing ban until 2020 as he tries to woo voters back into the National fold before the Orange by-election.

Could Orange by-election force Baird to delay greyhound racing ban?

Are government staffers talking Wentworth Park sale?

Greyhounds race at the Wentworth Park ahead of the industry's July 2017 shutdown.

No answer on whether government staff discussed Wentworth Parl sale

Justice delayed is justice denied in NSW courts

Court backlogs trigger push for break and enter law change

Communication breakdown in NSW fishing reforms

State-wide commercial fishing industry reforms have left fishers confused about their futures.

Non-English speaking fishers confused at industry-wide reforms

Classic car auction draws buyers from US, Dubai

"He wants everyone to enjoy the cars, the collection got too big'

Bonus point gets Dan and Carleen over the line on The Block

Dan and Carleen in their winning living and dining rooms in a scene from The Block.

BABY boomers win living and dining week as show hits halfway mark.

Olivia Wilde having a girl

Olivia Wilde revealed she is expecting a baby girl.

Michael Palin: Terry Jones dementia is 'painful' to see

Michael Palin has found Terry Jones' decline "painful to watch"

Daniel Radcliffe hoped for haircut anonymity

Radcliffe thought shaving his head would make him more anonymous

Jim Carrey slams 'shameful greed' of lawsuit

Jim Carrey has slammed the "shameful greed" of White's ex-husband.

'Highly unlikely' Brad Pitt will face prosecution

It is highly unlikely that Brad Pitt will be prosecuted

UPDATE: Former rodeo champ's sale rained out, now back on

Larkhill local Ken Consiglio is having an auction of most of the things on his property.

'People kept showing up and we had to turn them away'

Couple build their own 'tiny house' for $45k

Holly Bowen and Oli Bucher built their "tiny house" themselves, only hiring a plumber and an electrician. Photo/supplied

The house, which is built on a trailer and can be towed.

Sunshine Beach property breaks real estate record

The property overlooks Sunshine Beach, as the backyard lawn meets the sand.

Sunshine Beach mansion sale smashes real estate record

SOLD: Historic hotel finds new owner

Post Office Hotel Grafton

Photo Adam Hourigan / The Daily Examiner

Pub in new hands and heading in a brand new direction

Peppers Airlie Beach put on the market

ON THE MARKET: Peppers Airlie Beach is being for recievership sale by CBRE Hotels and PRD Nationwide Airlie Beach.

Peppers Airlie Beach is being offered for sale.

3500 jobs on the way with new $950 million resort

Residential, tourist, community, and open space on Hummock Hill Island.

PROPERTY developers plan to begin construction next year.