16 August 2023

Kowanyama to benefit from new renal dialysis unit

| Matt Nicholls
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A new building will be constructed at the Kowanyama Primary Healthcare Centre to accommodate a renal dialysis unit.

A new building will be constructed at the Kowanyama Primary Healthcare Centre to accommodate a renal dialysis unit.

WORK will soon start on a renal dialysis facility in Kowanyama, which should reduce the amount of travel to Cairns for local patients.

The new $4.5 million unit will be built adjacent to the existing Kowanyama Primary Healthcare Centre and will include consultation and storage rooms and a state-of-the-art communications room, in addition to the four-chair renal dialysis unit.

“Work on the new unit will start later this month and construction is expected to be completed and the unit operational in early 2024,” said Dean Davidson, the acting CEO of Torres and Cape Hospital and Health Service.

“We are developing a model of care that will allow haemodialysis services at Kowanyama to be delivered with the support of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health practitioners with advanced training in kidney health.

“The health service already has an advanced kidney health practitioner at Thursday Island unit and is training another for Bamaga.

“We are also developing a training pathway for other Indigenous health practitioners to build skills to support all our health service’s remote dialysis services and other specialist services.”

The Kowanyama haemodialysis unit will be the fifth assisted dialysis unit in the Torres and Cape region, with units already established at Thursday Island, Weipa, Cooktown, and Bamaga.

However, not all patients requiring dialysis are able to have their dialysis in one of these units.

“Due to the complexity of their conditions and the clinical requirement for them to have immediate access to highly specialised kidney services that are not available locally, there may always be some patients who will need to relocate permanently to Cairns, or another large centre, to access those services,” Mr Davidson said.

“But for those deemed clinically suitable, the availability of assisted dialysis services is a major improvement in their lives.”

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