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Queensland’s first young adult kidney clinic targets transplant loss

Monday, 15 May 2017

Queensland’s first young adult kidney clinic targets transplant loss

In a Queensland first, Mater Young Adult Health Centre Brisbane has introduced a kidney clinic to support the most vulnerable age group of transplant recipients from kidney loss.

The clinic provides 16-25 year olds with an environment that allows young adults to feel empowered and be involved in decisions about their care, based on the world-renowned Oxford model.

The evidence based model has shown that by creating a peer support network in conjunction with a multi-disciplinary medical team, the number of kidneys lost is drastically reduced.

Mater has partnered with Kidney Health Australia who established the service in Adelaide four years ago. In the young adult age group, 1-2 kidneys were being lost each year however since the clinic’s implementation, no kidneys have been lost.

Mater Director Renal and Dialysis, Dr Michael Burke understands it is a difficult time for young adults where up to this point traditionally, their parents have guided them through the process.

“As 16 year olds, they are required to transition towards the adult service and the risk of transplant loss is extremely high,” he said.

“These specialised clinics not only provide medical support, but care for the emotional, social and educational needs of the patients.

“We know this evidence based model is likely to increase attendance at clinic appointments and compliance with medications which ultimately reduces the risk of losing kidney transplants to rejection,” Dr Burke said.

18 year old Sam Hall was diagnosed with kidney disease in utero, and regular doctor’s appointments, weekly injections and a long list of dietary requirements were part of his  life on dialysis until he underwent a  kidney transplant in 2013.

“Since my transplant; attending the clinics at the Mater has been a great way to meet other people my own age who are going through similar challenges,” Sam said.

“I feel extremely lucky to have had my transplant and although I am on daily medication for the rest of my life, I am no longer tired and I can eat what I want!”

“I am so happy to have started my teaching degree at Uni this year and be just like any other 18 year old.

Sam received his kidney from his mother Joanne who always knew that if the “T” word came up, she wanted to donate herself.

“Living on the Sunshine Coast, we are more than happy to travel to Mater with Sam to catch up with other families, share our news and struggles and of course, see any specialists in between,” Joanne said.

“Sam has been doing exceptionally well and hopes to work with other young children with kidney disease in the future,” she said.

The clinic was introduced at Mater in November 2016.

Mater Young Adult Health Centre Brisbane delivers support across a board spectrum of specialities relevant to adolescent and young adults where there is an identified need and clinical benefit. It manages patients with chronic and complex conditions such as diabetes, cystic fibrosis, complex urology conditions, and inflammatory bowel disease.

Mater Young Adult Health Centre Brisbane utilises a cross-disciplinary approach to managing the care of adolescent and young adults through day programs, inpatient services and specialist consultations.


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Tags: Dr Michael Burke, Mater Health, Mater Young Adult Health Centre Brisbane