Proposed renal unit for Stratford upon Avon and district
We are a small group, composed mainly of kidney-failure patients, brought together by the idea that a dialysis unit in Stratford would hugely benefit kidney patients from a wide area, encompassing South Warwickshire and its border counties, who currently dialyse at Walsgrave, Coventry. Walsgrave had already agreed to "satellite units" in the north of the county (Rugby is up and running with Nuneaton due to open around October this year) and we have now received a commitment for Stratford to go ahead in 2003 or early 2004.
The main problem for haemodialysis patients at Walsgrave is the time spent in travelling. Life-saving treatment of up to five hours can extend by a further two to three hours travelling, making each dialysis day almost a whole day. Multiplied three times a week, this is almost half your life! On non-dialysis days, there are clinics to attend, regular blood tests and many kidney patients have other complaints that need consultant check-ups. Sometimes you can be at Walsgrave five days a week and with each visit comes that horrendous journey!
Our aim is to provide a first rate dialysis environment, not just for current patients, but for the ever increasing number of new patients. Many are older people, who are considered too old for transplants, and will have no alternative but to spend the rest of their days on a machine. A kidney patient spends up to five hours per treatment on an uncomfortable bed, rather like a dentist chair, reading books, listening to music through earphones or trying to watch a television which serves up to ten beds. Chatting to other patients is mostly out of the question, as is writing. There is no provision for visitors.
We want to ensure that every patient has the Rolls Royce of beds, access to individual radio/tape/ television/video ports, with the appropriate libraries of tapes/videos, pleasant surroundings, such refreshments as are allowed and visitor chairs. We hope also to provide two 'holiday beds' in the unit. Lastly we hope to see the provision of a clinic area for those kidney patients who receive CAPD (a different, and often temporary, form of treatment mainly done at home). CAPD patients need frequent line changes, blood tests, check ups, etc., which currently involve an hour long trip to Walsgrave for a fifteen minute appointment.
Emergency consultations are also necessary, owing to recurrent infections where again the travelling hassle is a major problem. Following major transplant surgery, travelling to Walsgrave for regular checks is the last thing patients want to face.
The financial impact of such a venture amounts to around £300,000. After being in existence for a year, we have raised £54,500 and have a number of fundraising events planned for this year. You may well have a neighbour, friend or relative, who suffers this debilitating condition, who will have to tolerate the current situation in the near future, or indeed is already part of the Walsgrave run !
We are all guilty of turning a blind eye when we are not personally affected, but your support is invaluable, however small. Bake a cake for one of our stalls, or coffee mornings; hold a coffee morning yourself; donate saleable items for our stalls; sell tickets or help to run our functions. Do you know anyone with a talent who would put on a function on our behalf- amateur dramatics, musicians, etc ? Are you willing to sponsor anyone ? Put up posters advertising our events on your local notice board; distribute flyers in your area. We need everyone to be involved to make this happen and in return we promise there is no committee work and no pressure.
We hope this information will serve as an incentive for your support. In the meantime, we thank you for taking the time to read this. If you are able to help, please telephone: Caroline Watson (01789) 293295 or Carolyn Russam (01789) 750850
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