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Information > Kidney Disease > The typical kidney patient

The typical patient diagnosed with Chronic Kidney Disease should eat a healthy balance diet, loose weight (if overweight) and monitor or check the blood pressure at home, With progressing kidney disease, additional measures are to taken into consideration such as careful monitoring of the declining kidney function, review of any medication to avoid further kidney disease and the transferring pf the patient to a kidney specialist.

Ever since the advent of dialysis studies have shown that a diagnosis of end stage renal disease can lead to severe psychological stress. However the impact of this illness is not confined to the psychological. It also affects the person physically, socially, and financially.

The progression of the disease means that the patient requires a lifetime of treatment from regular out-patient monitoring through to post transplant. In the process additional health problems may develop, such as skin cancer, hypertension, bone disease, restricted mobility, and cardiac complications.

The long hours per week of necessary life saving treatment affects an individual’s working life, their social, home and family life, their physical and psychological well-being. The diagnosis may also lead to unemployment and loss of meaningful identity. These, plus the diet and fluid restrictions imposed on haemodialysis patients will frequently result in increased psychological stress with the knock on effect this will have in all their interpersonal relationships.

A diagnosis of ESKD has enormous financial consequences for both patient and families. The net effect for a family may be that they rely on disability benefit and related welfare. The additional costs of on-going medication and care places considerable strain on the individual and their family’s budget.

State  Welfare payments do not take account of the life-long aspect of the illness, involving long periods of dependency on welfare. Extra costs are directly associated with the patient’s particular treatment. These costs can include basic needs of travel to and from dialysis centres, visits to medical practitioners, adhering to a prescribed diet, drugs, sun screen products and medication costs.

Employment opportunities are restricted, and the prospects of career advancement are slim. A simple event such as booking a holiday with family and friends will be restricted by the limited availability of holiday centres with dialysis facilities and a difficulty in securing holiday insurance.

It is the family who provide a major part of the patient’s care. Most families accept this burden with grace yet reluctance. Family systems and structures may have to be rethought and remodelled in order to cater for the needs of the patient. Support services for families are essential if they are to continue to be the primary carer for the patient.

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