Thursday, 31 March 2016

NKF to build $12m mega dialysis centre in Jurong

It will offer 24-hour dialysis, boosting access for patients and easing load of other centres
By Linette Lai, The Straits Times, 30 Mar 2016

To cope with rapidly rising kidney failure numbers here, the National Kidney Foundation (NKF) is building its largest dialysis centre - a $12 million complex in Jurong with 24-hour dialysis, dedicated to kidney care.

The new facility, 10 times the size of regular centres, is expected to have 200 dialysis stations and will cater to 2,000 patients a week, taking the load off the foundation's 29 other centres - particularly those in the west that are nearly full.

Adding a night dialysis slot enables centres to expand capacity, and also makes going for dialysis more convenient for patients with busy day jobs.

NKF is the main dialysis provider here, and nearly all of its 3,800 or so patients have high blood pressure, while three-quarters have diabetes. Both conditions are on the rise in Singapore, and are also leading causes of kidney failure here.

According to the latest Singapore Renal Registry Report, there were 5,521 people on dialysis in 2013, up from 5,244 the year before. It is the only option apart from a transplant, and patients must undergo the procedure for life.

Apart from dialysis, the Corporation Road complex, likely to open in phases starting next year, will teach patients how to carry out peritoneal dialysis - a special form of dialysis that can be done at home.

Plans for the centre were announced by Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam yesterday, at the opening of the NKF's first 24-hour dialysis centre in Jurong West, which gives patients more flexibility to choose when they want treatment.

Of the yet-to-open facility, he said it "will greatly expand access to subsidised haemodialysis services to the renal patients in the western region".

He noted, too, that NKF must go beyond offering dialysis services and tackle the problem at its root, through better education and prevention programmes to curb the onset of kidney diseases.

Peritoneal dialysis, which is more convenient and just as effective as dialysis done in the centres, is not common in Singapore, according to NKF chief executive Edmund Kwok, and the new centre will try to change that.

"One of the reasons that people have shied away from it is that they are not very confident they can do it themselves," he said.

"Those who are not very sure, you can come to the (new) centre and we will train you for as long as you need. As you get better, more independent, you will be able to do it yourself."

A third of the funding for the new centre will come from the Sirivadhanabhakdi Foundation, which is based in Thailand and supports medical, religious and educational causes.

The centre will also focus on preventing kidney failure.

"We must redouble our efforts on preventive care," Mr Tharman said. "One in nine adult Singaporeans has diabetes, and the number is growing."

The opening of the NKF Dialysis Centre, supported by the Sirivadhanabhakdi Foundation, was graced by Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam on 29 March 2016.
Posted by NKF Singapore on Thursday, March 31, 2016

NKF introduces night dialysis for kidney patients
By Linette Lai, The Straits Times, 30 Mar 2016

Kidney dialysis sessions at night - a first here - mean patients can continue to work during the day.

For people such as dance choreographer Manimaran Thorasamy, who has been undergoing dialysis after 10pm at the National Kidney Foundation's (NKF) newest centre in Jurong West for the past week, this is a godsend. The centre is the first to offer a night shift for dialysis patients.

Mr Manimaran, 55, who also teaches Indian classical and folk dance in schools, said his earlier thrice-weekly evening dialysis sessions used to interfere with his classes.

"People like me, we are very busy in the day," he said. "I have classes in the afternoon and evening, so I prefer doing dialysis at night."

Unlike normal dialysis, which lasts around four hours, night-time dialysis takes between six and eight hours. At the new Jurong West centre, which was officially opened yesterday, the night shift starts at 10pm and ends at 6am.

"The chairs are comfortable," Mr Manimaran said. "At night, when dialysis starts, I just relax and go to sleep."

The centre was opened with a $2.2 million donation from the Sirivadhanabhakdi Foundation in Thailand, the first foreign foundation to provide sponsorship to the NKF.

Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam, who spoke at the opening ceremony, stressed the important role that organisations both public and private can play in giving back to society.

He raised the example of how the Singapore Contractors Association raised $900,000 for a new dialysis centre in Yishun, and the Yuhua Citizens' Consultative Committee and its residents raised $1.2 million for another centre in Jurong East.

"It is heartening to see individuals, the private sector and philanthropic foundations giving to the society," Mr Tharman said.

Apart from being able to better accommodate patients' work demands, having longer dialysis sessions at night is also easier on patients' bodies.

Patients on nocturnal dialysis are allowed a less restrictive diet and generally need less medication.

"It is gentler on the heart, so the risk of heart attacks is lower," said Mr Koh Poh Tiong, the NKF chairman. "It is also easier to control blood pressure."

He also said that adding a fourth dialysis slot - on top of the current morning, afternoon and evening shifts - means that the centre is able to take in more patients.

The new centre has space for 32 patients on the night shift.

"It is good because we are short of space," he said. "Every day in Singapore, there are five new cases of kidney failure."

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