A tight-knit unit
Nov 01, 2016
Undergoing treatment for kidney failure is an incredibly difficult and harrowing experience no one should have to go through, but for the local patients faced with this challenge every day, the struggle is made easier thanks to the skilled and supportive team at Noosa Hospital's renal unit.
Offering a standard of care that is second-to-none, Noosa Hospital's renal unit provides life-saving treatment for people like Harvey Westbury every day. It was eight years ago when Harvey first found himself requiring the assistance of haemodialysis to survive. He, like one-in-10 Australians, was diagnosed with chronic kidney disease or end-stage kidney failure - a life-threatening condition where patients can lose up to 90 per cent of their kidneys' function before discovering there is even a problem. It's a situation with just two options for treatment available, transplant or dialysis, both of which are major procedures, and both of which see the patient forced to become familiar with the inside of a hospital.
Yet despite having to spend at least five hours a day, three days a week in a hospital bed while he receives haemodialysis treatment for the rest of his life, Harvey remains grateful - and he credits his attitude to the amazing team at Noosa Hospital's renal unit for providing him with the opportunity to receive exceptional care in the comfort of his home town.
"I've been to a number of hospitals for dialysis treatment in my time, but no one even comes close to the team at the Noosa Hospital. They have the best renal unit in the country in my opinion," says Harvey earnestly.
"They're an incredibly positive and empathetic bunch of people and I couldn't speak highly enough of them. Having to go in and be hooked up to dialysis three times a week isn't easy and it takes its toll on you. But after eight years of going there it's become like a second home now. I've seen staff come and go, but every one of them has gone out of their way to make it a really supportive environment for their patients."
Noosa Hospital's renal unit provides comprehensive haemodialysis treatment for both private and public patients from Australia and overseas. Dedicated to ensuring their patients continue to enjoy quality of life despite their illness, the unit is able to cater for patients holidaying in the Noosa area year-round, giving them the peace-of-mind that comes with knowing that an experienced team together with state-of-the-art equipment is there to offer them the best possible support.
Ann-Maree Akeroyd (Nurse Unit Manager)
Having worked in hospitals all over the world, from the United Kingdom and the United States to cities right around Australia, Ann-Maree has a wealth of experience. She completed her training as a nurse at St Vincent's Hospital in Melbourne before specialising in dialysis and it's a field she loves.
"I always had an interest in medical and health services, and renal is quite complex - your kidneys actually do a lot of things within the body and regulate lots of the body's systems," she says.
Ann-Maree has been the nurse unit manager at Noosa Private Hospital's renal unit since August 2015 and says it's a role that is highly rewarding.
"I love that here we can give patients quality of life," she says. "Being on dialysis, you can become very institutionalised, but if we get their treatment right, our patients can feel well on the days in between and go do the things they want to do. Or if we're lucky, we get to see our patients get a transplant, and for them it's a whole new beginning."
Dr Kumar Mahadevan (Director of Renal Services at Noosa Hospital and Renal Physician at Nambour Selangor Private Hospital and Sunshine Coast University Private Hospital)
Heading the hospital renal unit is Dr Kumar Mahadevan - a highly skilled and experienced physician who completed his medical degree in Adelaide in 2006.
Moving to the Sunshine Coast to take up a position as a nephrologist and general physician at Nambour General Hospital, Dr Mahadevan began offering his services at Noosa Hospital in late 2007 and finds his work there to be rewarding.
"It's one of those fields where you see patients on an ongoing basis, which I really like," he says. "Renal is one of the areas where you tend to form bonds with your patients. I feel like I'm making a difference because I get to see them over the years. They become more than just patients to me."
Specialising in a range of areas including the diagnosis and management of hypertension, renal anaemia, acute and chronic kidney injury and the education and supervision of patients of renal replacement therapy, Dr Mahadeven also shares his knowledge as a senior lecturer with the University of Queensland and the director of physician training, responsible for teaching medical officers and students.
"It's one of the things I find I'm good at," he says. "I like seeing the anxiety leave patients when I'm able to provide a better understanding of what's going on with them."