David’s at-home care lets him get on with life

David relaxes at home. INLM50-001
David relaxes at home. INLM50-001

A LURGAN man who is on a transplant waiting list is benefiting from a healthcare initiative in the community that enables him to receive dialysis treatment in his own home.

Thanks to support workers from the Southern Health and Social Care Trust, David Stewart doesn’t have to attend hospital for his treatment. Instead, he is connected to a dialysis machine and gets a longer and gentler treatment five nights each week.

David’s uncle, Mick Lightbown, praised the staff who support and care for David: “The support workers decided to get training from the Renal Unit at Belfast City Hospital so that David could continue to live at home and get the treatment he needs for his condition,” he said.

“David has a learning disability and he has been on the transplant list for a year. His condition and treatment haven’t held him back as he continues to work at Zest Coffee Shop in Gilford, study at Southern Regional College, and follow Manchester United Football Club.”

Pauline McIlduff, who helps David live independently in supported living accommodation, is just one of eight staff who have been trained to provide the care David needs to keep him out of hospital.

She said: “David has been able to maintain his independence and quality of life through his home dialysis treatment which is as effective as he would receive in hospital. His treatment at home is working very well.”

David is one of around 100 people across Northern Ireland having dialysis treatment at home rather than in hospital. The recent Transforming Your Care review, which will shape health and social care in Northern Ireland in the 21st Century, supports the shift of services from hospitals to people’s homes.

Dr William Nelson, Nephrologist at Belfast City Hospital who co-ordinates care for those receiving dialysis at home, adds: “The role of dialysis care and treatment in Belfast City Hospital and Daisy Hill Hospital in Newry has already changed significantly in recent years. Transforming Your Care means that more specialist care will be provided in the community.

“In David’s case, it is a move that is good for the health service as he isn’t taking up a bed or needing hospital staff to care for him. In addition, David’s quality of life is good and he can attend a work placement and continue with his studies.”