The Impact of Kidney Disease in our Rural Community
Receiving a grant in our KTDRA funding round last year, Nephrologist Dr Su Crail is leading a study spanning two states to determine the impact chronic kidney disease has on sufferers.
Focusing on patients both in South Australia and the Northern Territory, Dr Crail will be looking at the quality of life of these patients and their families, particularly if they live in a rural or remote setting and are forced to spend considerable time away from home for treatment. To do this, Dr Crail will be working closely with her co-investigator Dr Paul Lawton from Menzies School of Health Research in Darwin.
“Our research will be focused on the impact ongoing treatment, hospitalisation and outpatient appointments has on patients with chronic kidney disease, those needing dialysis or who have had a kidney transplant,” Dr Crail said.
“We need to look at how much time having kidney disease takes out of a patient’s life each time they are in hospital and how much time they are away from home.
“Many of our patients come to the Royal Adelaide Hospital from the Northern Territory and then return to their home, which is why we are including them in this project as well.”
To conduct this research, Dr Crail will be linking a number of different data sets in the hope that better understanding the true burden of kidney disease will lead to two important breakthroughs – improving both patients’ health and the future of our health system.
“The reason for this project is two-fold. Firstly, we can let patients know what to expect at the time they are diagnosed with kidney disease and second we can plan and prepare our health system for the increasing prevalence of this disease.”
“We know kidney failure is on the rise, we need to be able to prepare for this. Not to mention many patients with kidney disease are also living with other conditions, including heart failure.
“Our project will help identify if we’ll need more health facilities in the future for these patients and potentially help us think about this differently in terms of how best we can maintain a person’s quality of life during their treatment. For example if a patient lives in rural or remote Northern Territory and needs to travel somewhere to have dialysis, is there a school close by for their children.”