Renal team launches local campaign to teach NHS staff

Trust doctors and nurses are visiting other hospitals to teach staff about the importance of caring for the veins of renal patients.

Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust staff will be launching their campaign on Monday 3 November and it runs until Friday 7 November.

As part of the campaign, the Imperial team and patients will visit local hospitals and dialysis units across north west London to raise awareness and to speak to patients and staff.

The campaign includes information on how patients requiring dialysis need to have ‘vascular access’. This means that their blood must be accessible at high flow rates – and the best way to achieve this is through a fistula.

Fistulas are surgically created connections between an artery and a vein which allow patients to lead a more normal way of life.

Consultant transplant and vascular surgeon, Mr Jeremy Crane explained:

As a surgical team, we have met a number of patients who have been unable to have a fistula formed due to poor vein quality. The aim of our campaign is to raise awareness amongst healthcare professionals and educate and empower our patients to be able to raise awareness amongst those trying to take blood or place intravenous lines in key areas. We are working to improve the success rates and numbers of fistulas that we are able to create.”

Mr Crane added: “Fistulas have reduced infection rates, with fewer long term complications compared to other methods. In order for a successful fistula to be created, key veins in the elbow crease and wrist regions must not be used for blood taking or intravenous lines where possible. Repeated use of these veins leads to scarring, making future formation of fistulas more difficult or impossible.

“There will be wristbands for patients, a poster campaign, and patient information, as well as drop in training sessions for staff.”

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