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February 2021

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Patients Asiasiga Esekia and Jaspreet Greewal and NUM Paula Kuder.

Lockdown no negative for renal patients

COVID-19 lockdown brought significant changes and improvement to Northern Health renal patients.
Several patients had not considered Dialysis at Home before the pandemic but became more open to switching.

One of these was Asiasiga Esekia, 29, who had been coming to hospital three times a week for the last two years.

She was struggling to balance family life with two kids, a full-time job and dialysis at hospital.

Before the pandemic, she was anxious about dialysis at home but COVID-19 was a chance for her to change her mind.

‘During the lockdown, she completed her home dialysis training and was able to transition to full home dialysis,’ said Dialysis at Home nurse unit manager Paula Kuder.

‘She really thrived through the lockdown and was able to put a positive spin on her situation.’

Ms Esekia said she felt she had ‘the control of my life back’ after two weeks.

‘I am now there for my two kids, especially for my daughter who goes to school.

‘Before, I had to come to hospital and spend hours here, now I hook up the machine in the evening and sleep through my dialysis.

‘That allows me to have the family time that we need.

‘I would recommend home dialysis to all patients, especially young ones – you will have your whole day back.’

COVID-19 marked a massive change for another Dialysis at Home patient.

Jaspreet Greewal had been on home dialysis for three and a half years and was looking forward to having a kidney transplant in 2020.

During the lockdown, she was worried her transplant might get delayed.

Then, her phone rang in the middle of the night.

‘I didn’t even answer, thinking it was my family from overseas,’ Ms Greewal said.

‘Then they called my husband and told us about the transplant.

‘It was amazing!

‘I had my transplant in August and everything is going well now.

‘I didn’t expect the call, as I thought all transplants are cancelled due to COVID-19,’ Ms Greewal said.

Ms Kuder said Northern Health patients were affiliated with other hospitals like the Royal Melbourne and Monash Health and took part in a shared care model.

‘Jaspreet was our patient through the whole journey and had her transplant at Monash Health.

‘Once the procedure was done, our doctors took over the care post-surgery,’ Ms Kuder said.