More NKF centres 'unsustainable'

SINGAPORE - The National Kidney Foundation (NKF) is encouraging more patients to opt for peritoneal dialysis, which can be done at home.

From next month, NKF will extend social and medical welfare benefits to such patients, including free basic blood tests, the provision of food necessities, house painting and befriending services by volunteers, access to an exercise and fitness programme and simple renovations to improve hygiene.

NKF also has a community support programme, with nurses regularly visiting the homes of these patients to provide advice and care and ensure good self-management.

Announcing these measures at the opening of its 25th dialysis centre yesterday, NKF chairman Koh Poh Tiong said the high cost of building and operating more centres makes it "unsustainable in the long run".

NKF's dialysis centres are running at near full capacity and there is an expected annual increase of about 4 per cent in the number of kidney patients.

NKF wants to increase the proportion of new patients opting for peritoneal dialysis, to 30 per cent to 35 per cent, up from the current 22 per cent.

Peritoneal dialysis is just as good as the haemodialysis done at its centres, said NKF. But patients lack confidence in taking it up without help. The home visit programme is expected to deal with this issue.

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