Extra Care’s at-home dialysis service is the only one of its kind in Northern Ireland

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As one of the largest providers of domiciliary care in Northern Ireland, it stands to reason that Extra Care is the only charity with the ability to provide APD treatment for dialysis patients. APD, or Assisted Peritoneal Dialysis, is used to treat patients with kidney issues at home. This is particularly advantageous for patients with mobility issues, for whom a daily or even a weekly journey to the hospital isn’t possible.

This particular form of dialysis greatly improves the patient’s quality of life, taking place at night for a period of 8 to 10 hours while the patient is asleep. One of Extra Care’s APD service users, Tony from Newtownards, explains the importance of receiving daily visits from his Care Worker in order to facilitate this process.

With distinctive humour and in considerably good spirits, Tony describes how APD has changed his life. “It makes things significantly easier for me,” he says. “I’ve been receiving at-home dialysis from Extra Care for over two and a half years now, and it saves me a great deal of bother as I no longer have to travel 45 minutes each way to the City Hospital in Belfast and back.”

He also explains how the process works for him. “My Care Worker, Denise, comes to my house five days a week and takes readings which she then punches into the dialysis machine,” he says. “She’ll measure my blood pressure, BPM and other vitals, leave me with a fresh batch of peritoneal fluid, then it’s up to me! I connect myself up to the APD machine and leave it to do its work overnight.”

Extra Care’s Chief Executive, Brian Hutchinson, believes the delivery of this service in the home remains true to Extra Care’s mission, which is to ensure that people receive comprehensive care at home.

“All care staff who assist in the provision of this treatment have been trained at the City Hospital in Belfast and are NVQ qualified,” he says. “That means our APD treatment is as effective as anything a dialysis patient might receive in a hospital, demonstrating once again that, for Extra Care, we have an ongoing commitment to make life for our service users as comfortable as possible. We are proud to be the only provider of APD, allowing people to remain at home with dignity.”