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Home based dialysis: an emerging industry

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Dr Vishal Sehgal, Medical Director, Portea Medical mentions the importance of dialysis at home and how it saves travel time, expenses and also ensures optimum hygiene

India has about 2.2 lakh new cases of end stage renal disease (ESRD) every year. This creates a demand for about 3.4 crore dialysis on annual basis. While the demand has been exponentially rising, the existing centres (4950 in number) are not capable of catering to half of the need.1 Dialysis is already a costly process, and it further necessitates the patients and their families to frequently travel long distances to avail the services apart from incurring huge expenses. However, with the emergence of home-based care, this scenario is changing.

During 1900s patients with a condition as serious as a kidney disease did not have high-tech machines that could help them. However, the scenario has changed today, and we live in a world where new technology has made access to healthcare and related devices possible. The emergence of digital technologies and their integration into healthcare devices has now made home-based dialysis services possible. There are numerous benefits offered by this emerging industry, the major one being saving travel time and expenses. Since it is simply conducted at the patient’s residence, the patient doesn’t need to travel or spend several hours at the hospital on a near daily basis. This ease of service leads to a patient undergoing hassle-free dialysis more frequently. The whole service is conducted in the comfort of the patient’s home environment and can work alongside the treatment being received by the patient. This also provides great relief to their family members who need to take care of their daily responsibilities apart from caring for the patient. A common thought associated with dialysis at home is that it is not required if patients are already going to hospitals for treatment. But this myth must be dispelled, and people made aware of the fact that home healthcare supplements the efforts of hospitals. By working closely with doctors and nurses, it helps in ensuring the best care possible to a patient.

Apart from this, aged patients who face mobility challenges, or people with injuries are also greatly benefited. Another area where home-based dialysis is ‘hygiene.’ In the home environment, patient’s family and doctors can ensure optimum hygiene and that no infection is passed on to the patient. However, in the case of a public healthcare centre, sanitation might be a challenge along with the risk of contamination due to water or infection being passed from one patient to another. Further, home-based services also ensure utmost comfort and dignity for the patients and their families.

The government has also given a definitive boost to home dialysis service providers in recent years. Coverage is now offered for dialysis to BPL families under schemes such as Pradhan Mantri National Dialysis Scheme which is based on the Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) model. Further, innovation and research are also successfully bringing down the cost of such treatment without compromising on the quality and efficacy of procedures such as dialysis. The need of the hour is concerted effort from various stakeholders and governmental support for companies that provide services such as home dialysis assisted by technology. With more awareness, it will become possible to reduce the burden for patients and their families and cater to the growing demand for quality and hassle-free dialysis services.

Reference:

1 https://vikaspedia.in/health/nrhm/national-health-programmes-1/pradhan-mantri-national-dialysis-programme

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