Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) is a long term condition where the kidneys are not working properly. It cannot be cured but it can be successfully treated and managed.
A guide to understanding your kidney disease
The healthcare team is specially trained to support you.
If you are diagnosed as having CKD you will come into contact with a range of healthcare professionals. Here is a short guide to the main people you may meet.
Supports you if you have anaemia. This may include arranging for you to have iron infusions.
Clinical psychologist or counsellor
Supports you by exploring different ways of looking at things and doing things. They will help you cope more effectively with your current situation and become more confident at dealing with any future problems. They can help with many concerns such as anxiety, stress, coping with uncertainty, worries anout family problems and changes in body image.
Gives you advice about how to achieve a well-balanced and practical diet suited to your needs. The advice may change regularly. This depends on such things as your level of kidney function, treatment choice, and appetite. The Dietician can also give advice about reaching and maintaining your ideal weight before and after transplant.
GP or family doctor
Works in the community. They will give you advice and information about general health conditions. Your GP may have referred you to the hospital. Your GP will be kept fully informed by the kidney team.
Nephrologist / kidney doctor
Specialises in treating people with kidney conditions.
Nephrology / kidney nurse
Has specialised training and experience in caring for people with kidney conditions.
Supports you if you have difficulties with practical everyday tasks, such as dressing or getting in and out of the bath. They can advise you on disability equipment and adapting your home and workplace.
Prepares and gives out medicines. Pharmacists can also give a lot of information and advice about your medications. They may be based in the hospital or in the community.
Advises patients about keeping fit and mobile. The physiotherapist can give you advice on exercising.
Practice and District Nurses
Work in the community and may visit you at home. They may help you with injections and changing dressings.
Helps you and your family/friends adjust to changes in your lives. They provide support, advice and information about issues including finance, benefits, work and getting help to manage at home.
Spiritual healthcare / chaplaincy team
Supports people of all faiths, as well as people who do not have particular religious beliefs, but would like someone to talk to.
Supportive care team
Supports you if you choose not to have dialysis or a kidney transplant, or if you are thinking about stopping dialysis.
You may meet a surgeon in the Access Clinic before you have a fistula formed or peritoneal dialysis catheter inserted. A surgeon will also perform your kidney transplant.
Looks after the dialysis machines. You are most likely to meet a technician if you have home haemodialysis. They will provide advice and support if you have problems with the equipment.
A specialist nurse who is responsible for managing transplants. They also prepare friends and relatives who wish to become kidney donors.