Sascha is a midwife from Welwyn Garden City who has kidney failure which meant that she spent a huge amount of her life in hospital. The team chose to help her as her treatment was keeping her from her four children and by creating a special home dialysis room she has been able to have fewer, less intensive dialysis sessions and can spend more time with her family. We were there during The Big Build and caught up with Sascha recently to hear what impact the show has had on her life.
“I had always wanted to do home dialysis but our home simply wasn’t big enough – with four children, myself and my husband there simply wasn’t the space to be able to do it. Instead, I had to go to hospital for four or five dialysis sessions a week, and I was working there twice a week too as a midwife so it was like I was never away and I was missing out so much on family life.
The dialysis unit was flexible but with so many plays, celebrations and events it was becoming a nightmare and I began to get very low. I was told my chances of another kidney transplant were slim and for me the best option was home dialysis – but it was impossible given our lack of space. I felt helpless.”
Within a week of doing my dialysis at home our whole life started to changeSascha
“I was so excited to find out that we’d been chosen and the whole experience was just incredible. I get a lot of supplies delivered on a monthly basis and the room has plenty of storage. It also has two radiators as I get very cold, especially when I am doing my dialysis. Within one week of doing my dialysis at home our whole life started to change. My levels improved and I was able to eat more foods and drinks that I had been having to restrict before.
The kids also love having me home and I can now go to swimming or ballet with them. Most importantly, I adore being a mummy and a wife again. I still have kidney disease and I am still a dialysis patient but my quality of life is so much better. I would encourage anyone who is able to do dialysis at home to consider it – to be in the comfort of your own home and in charge of your own care is a privilege I wish more people could have.”
Fiona Loud, Policy Director at Kidney Care UK (pictured at The Big Build), adds: “People with kidney failure should be able to choose the dialysis treatment that suits them. Whilst home therapies won’t work for everyone, research shows that only a quarter of the patients who could receive and benefit from home dialysis are currently receiving this treatment. We’re delighted that the BBC and all the wonderful volunteers have helped make this small change that has had such a huge impact on Sascha’s life and on her whole family. It’s fantastic to know that she is doing so well.”
Sascha concludes: “Whenever you speak to people they just don’t seem to know much about kidney disease or dialysis. None of the volunteers or people from the programme knew much but what they did understand was that there was a mum in their community who was being separated from her family due to illness. They helped to change that – and I will be forever grateful to them. I hope that from watching this people will understand more about kidney disease and appreciate how hard dialysis is. It is a lifesaving, sometimes gruelling, treatment not some sort of relaxing rejuvenating spa retreat! It’s what keeps me alive!”
About home dialysis
Most UK centres can teach you and your appointed helper how to perform haemodialysis at home. This training usually takes about 4-12 weeks. Home dialysis gives you more flexibility in your dialysis schedule. Some patients now have shorter hours (e.g. two hours) of dialysis every day.
If you'd like to know more about Home Haemodialysis download our booklet 'There's no place like home - an introduction to home haemodialysis'.
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