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Northland Hosts Australasian Renal Society Conference

Media Release

8 November 2012

Northland Hosts Australasian Renal Society Conference

The Renal Society of Australasia (NZ Branch) will hold its 37th annual conference in Whangarei this week hosted by Northland District Health Board’s (DHB) Renal Unit and bringing national renal and other health specialists to the region.

This year’s Renal Society of Australasia (NZ Branch) conference will open with a Powhiri and will focus on the A to Z of Renal Care Planning and the care options for patients undergoing renal dialysis. Northland was chosen to host the conference when holding it in Christchurch, as planned, proved impossible.

Nurse Manager at Whangarei Hospital’s renal unit, Cheryle Kiwi, says one of the goals of the conference is to encourage in-depth dialogue about developing a more planned pathway to outcomes for renal dialysis patients. “Specifically, we wish to enable health professionals to move forward in the health journey alongside clients and whânau which is full of challenges and often occurs over many years. Here in Northland, we do have a unique relationship with clients and whanau throughout the client’s journey.”

Speakers at the conference include Otago University researcher and teaching fellow, Richard Egan, who will focus on spirituality care at the end-of-life, and the four Northland DHB Renal Physicians who will explore diverse subjects such as family meetings and the maze of specific treatment options available. A presentation will also be given on how Northland DHB provided earthquake relief for 10 Christchurch haemodialysis patients in February last year.

Around 100 people including clinical physicians, social workers, dietitians and trade representatives, as well as nurses from a variety of fields including renal, hospice, GP practices, theatre and recovery are expected at the conference. Rregistrations’ include both Renal Society of Australasia delegates and non-members

About Diabetes in Northland
Diabetes is not the only cause of renal (Chronic Kidney) disease, but in Northland the number of our population living with some form of diabetes or renal disease is high and it continues to grow.

Around 40 per cent of new referrals to the Northland regional service are people with diabetes. Maori and Pacific people are the highest risk of developing diabetes and going on to develop renal (kidney) disease which is a major cause of chronic illness in Northland.

Renal replacement therapy encompasses the range of life-supporting treatments used in the management of a patient’s renal failure. The treatment modalities include haemodialysis, peritoneal dialysis and renal transplantation.

Demand for renal replacement therapy in Northland is greater than the expected national growth rate of 9%. Core drivers of demand growth in Northland include:

• The high incidence of Type II Diabetes.
• The Northland population consists of 29% Maori and Pacific peoples, compared to the national rate of 14% for New Zealand , and the incidence of end-stage renal failure for Maori is 2.5 times greater than that of European people, and
• Nationally rates of acceptance for dialysis have increased most significantly for patients over 65 years of age consistent with the aging national population and the relative health of this population. When compared nationally, the Northland region has the third highest proportion of people older than 65 years within the population.

Overall, there are about 181 patients who use some form of dialysis or renal replacement therapy in Northland including on 118 haemodialysis, 35 peritoneal dialysis (25 Maori, 9 European, 1 other) and 28 on home haemodialysis. Additionally, there are many unaccounted for patients who just “fall in” or become acute without warning, creating additional, unforeseen demand on dialysis services.


Facebook Page has been set up for the conference:

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