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Treatment

Pre-Dialysis Education Programme FAQs

Appointments

1. How do I book, change or cancel an appointment with an NKF counsellor, patient volunteer or dialysis centre visit?

Please email to startright@nkfs.org or call us at 6506 2187 for assistance.

Treatment

1. How will my nephrologist be involved in my pre-dialysis to dialysis journey?

You may consult your nephrologist in your current treating hospital.

Upon enrolment into NKF, our nephrologist will review you on a monthly basis at the dialysis centre. Nursing staff managing your dialysis may also consult the nephrologist in charge of respective dialysis centres on issues as they arise, if required.

2. I have been diagnosed with kidney failure. What are the treatment options available and which type is suitable for me?

There are four treatment options for kidney failure: Haemodialysis, Peritoneal Dialysis, Kidney Transplant or Conservative Care.

Haemodialysis Pros Cons
Haemodialysis is the process of cleansing the blood by removing waste products, extra salt and water through a dialysis machine. Blood, via a surgically-created fistula, is pumped from the body and filtered through the artificial kidney (dialyser) attached to the dialysis machine. • Trained nurses perform various aspects of the treatment such as needling, at the dialysis centre

• May develop a support network with other patients dialysing at the same time
• Patients are required to travel to a dialysis centre three times a week, 4 hours per session

• Less privacy at the dialysis centre as there are other patients doing dialysis at same time

• Loved ones/friends are not allowed to visit during treatment session

• The fistula needs to be accessed each time using 2 needles, which can cause pain/ discomfort. Problems such as blood clots or blockage can happen, which require treatment in hospital

Peritoneal Dialysis​ Pros Cons
Peritoneal Dialysis is a home-based, self-administered, needle-free treatment. It helps to remove toxins and excess water in the blood using a dialysis solution that is introduced into the abdomen via a surgically-inserted catheter. • Patients can perform the treatment in the comfort of their home without the need to travel to a dialysis centre

• Provides more freedom to carry out daily activities

• Able to better preserve remaining kidney function

• Usually fewer fluid and dietary restrictions

• No needles required

• Can preserve blood vessels for future haemodialysis access creation, if needed
• Treatment is performed every day

• Catheter may affect body image

• Swimming is not allowed due the risk of infection

• Potential for weight gain due to glucose (sugar) in dialysis solution

• Blood glucose requires closer monitoring and control in patients with diabetes

• Storage space is required at home for medical supplies and peritoneal dialysis solution

• Potential for infection in the catheter
Kidney Transplantation Pros Cons
Kidney transplantation is the process where a kidney is surgically removed from a donor and implanted into the patient. The patient may receive a new kidney from a living donor or from someone who has passed on, also known as a deceased donor.

Patients are encouraged to consider a living donor kidney transplant before the need to start dialysis.
• Improved quality of life compared to dialysis

• Able to lead a more normal family and work life

• Free from the fluid and dietary restrictions required while on dialysis

• Free from the long hours of dialysis treatment
• As with any major surgical procedures, there are risks involved. These risks and benefits will be explained to help you make an informed decision.

• Regular monitoring, follow-ups are required. Lifelong anti-rejection medications are needed to prevent your body from rejecting the transplanted kidney

• Risk of infections are higher post-transplant, as the immune system is suppressed
Conservative Care Pros Cons
Conservative Care is an approach which uses medication to manage the symptoms and improve the quality of life for the patient and his/her family while managing kidney failure, without dialysis or kidney transplantation.

It addresses the physical, psychosocial, and spiritual concerns and focuses on comfort, respect for decisions and support for the patient and his/her family.
• More free time for loved ones and freedom to carry out daily activities as compared to patients on dialysis

• No needles or surgery required

• Eliminates the risk of infection due to dialysis

• Patient can travel if he/she feels well

• Patient will receive multidisciplinary support from their team at the treating hospital
• Treatment focuses on symptom management and psychosocial support. It is not aimed at curing kidney disease or prolonging your life

• Patient will need to travel to the hospital for regular clinic appointments

• Additional medications may be needed to provide relief for patient from physical and/or psychological symptoms
3. If I choose Haemodialysis (HD) treatment, can I start the treatment immediately?

Before a dialysis patient can start HD treatment, he/she is required to undergo a day surgery to create an arteriovenous (AV) fistula/synthetic bridge graft to connect their vein directly to the artery. This helps to increase blood flow and pressure in the blood vessel to facilitate HD.

The fistula/graft is usually constructed in the forearm and requires 6-12 weeks to mature and be ready for use.

However, additional surgery may be required for patients whose fistula does not mature successfully. A temporary catheter may be inserted in the neck for quick vascular access if they need to begin dialysis treatment immediately. Patients who have opted for haemodialysis are recommended to consult their doctors or nurses early to plan ahead for the treatment.

4. If I choose Peritoneal Dialysis (PD), can I start the treatment immediately?

A permanent catheter will be inserted into your abdomen (day surgery) and is ready for use after 2-3 weeks. Sometimes the catheter may be used earlier for PD if urgent treatment is required.

A PD nurse will conduct a home visit to ensure that your living environment is clean and suitable for dialysis at home. You will also undergo training for 3-5 days by your healthcare team together with your family members/caregivers to learn how to perform PD on your own and take care of your PD catheter.

5. Can Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) be prevented? If I have kidney disease, does that means my family members are at risk of developing CKD?

CKD is a progressive loss of kidney function over time and usually does not have any obvious symptoms until the later stages.

A heathy diet and lifestyle, as well as optimising control of chronic conditions especially diabetes and high blood pressure, can help keep kidney diseases at bay.

Having first-degree relatives (i.e. parents, children and siblings) with kidney disease increases your risk of developing the disease in your lifetime as you share similar lifestyle habits.

It is also important to go for regular health screening to detect any risks or symptoms early and better manage any condition that may be present.

6. I am diagnosed with kidney failure. What are the consequences if I reject dialysis treatment?

The main treatment provided will be to relief the symptoms and manage complications of kidney failure, for example, swelling from fluid retention, itching from toxin accumulation, tiredness from anaemia, high potassium and phosphate levels.

Without dialysis, toxins will build up. Depending on how quickly the toxins build up, and importantly how quickly your remaining kidney function declines, demise may occur anywhere from a few days to several weeks.

7. Can Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) help to improve my kidney function?

There is no good evidence TCM can improve kidney function. Kidney failure is irreversible.

Do not take traditional medicine or health supplements from dubious sources that may cause serious health problems. If you have kidney disease, avoid taking anti-inflammatory painkillers such as Diclofenac (Voltaren), Naproxen (Synflex), Etoricoxib (Arcoxia) as they may worsen your existing kidney function.

You should always consult with your nephrologist before consuming any medication or supplements.

Financial and Care Counseling

1. My family member collapsed and started dialysis in the hospital, what should I do now?

Please inform the hospital’s doctor or nurse that you wish to speak to the medical social worker (MSW).

The patient/family will undergo counselling with the renal coordinator and the treating medical team to receive timely and appropriate education about the available treatment options, so as to make informed decisions on which treatment option is best suited for the patient.

The MSW will refer financially needy patients to the NKF.

2. Where can I seek help if I am unable to afford the expensive dialysis treatment bills?

If you face financial difficulties, please email to startright@nkfs.org or call us at 6506 2187.

Our medical social workers will discuss and advise you on the various support options such as the availability of insurance claim and coverage or conduct a financial assessment to determine the subsidies for which you are eligible.

Eating Right & Keeping Fit For Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) Patients

1. I am diagnosed with CKD. Do I have to go on special diet?

Learning how to eat right is important after being diagnosed with CKD. The goal is to preserve existing kidney function and to delay the progression to CKD stage 5, also known as kidney failure.

Click here to learn more about Eating Right for CKD patients.

2. Can I continue to exercise after being diagnosed with CKD or kidney failure?

Yes. CKD and kidney failure patients are encouraged to continue exercising if you are well enough to do so.

Regular exercise helps you to maintain muscle strength, endurance and the ability to be independent in your daily activities.

Click here to learn more about the type of exercises that are suitable for your condition.

Others

1.Can I continue working while on dialysis?

There are various dialysis treatment options and you could opt for one that accommodates your work schedule.

If your employer requires you to put in full-time working hours, you could opt for either nocturnal haemodialysis at the dialysis centre or automated peritoneal dialysis from home; both are performed while you are asleep.

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FAQ

General Enquiries

As there are limited car park lots available at NKF Centre visitors may need to park at the nearby HDB car parks in the vicinity.

NKF HQ Mondays –Thursdays
Fridays
PH / Weekends
8.30am –6.00pm
8.30am –5.00pm
Closed
Dialysis Centres Mondays –Saturdays
Sundays
PH
7.00am –11.00pm
Closed
7.00am –11.00pm

We are open on most public holidays except for the 1st day of Chinese New Year.

NKF does not provide ad hoc dialysis treatment. Our patients are on long-term dialysis treatment. You may wish to check with private dialysis centres for ad hoc dialysis treatments.

NKF does not have an outpatient clinic and hence, we are unable to arrange an appointment for members of the public. You may wish to contact a hospital of your choice for outpatient service.

Currently, NKF does not provide health report interpretation service. You may consult your General Practitioner who will be able to assist you.

Someone with kidney failure may not experience any signs and symptoms until it is too late. It is best to do a routine health screening to understand your health status better and detect any abnormalities as early as possible so that you can delay and manage the disease progression.

To know about the signs and symptoms please click here to learn more.

Decreased urination Swollen hands and ankles Sleep disturbances
Blood in the urine (tea-coloured or fresh blood) Puffiness around the eyes High blood pressure
Nausea and vomiting Itching Loss of appetite

All dialysis centres operate on 3 dialysis shifts –morning, noon and evening.

Morning Noon Evening
7.00am –12.00pm 12.00pm – 6.00pm 6.00pm –11.00pm
Timing of your dialysis schedule may vary for each dialysis centres.
Schedules
Monday, Wednesday and Friday (1,3,5) OR Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday (2,4,6)

Admissions

Our Admissions Counsellor will contact you once your application is finalised. They will be in contact with you soon.

From the day we receive the application form, it will take approximately 3 working days to a week for us to get back to you if you have submitted all completed supporting documents together with your application form to us. Generally, the whole process will take 6 months for the approval.

The overall application review process will take approximately 6 months before the applicant can start the first dialysis treatment. However, if the applicant is able to provide all completed supporting documents and if there is a slot available at the dialysis centre with a right match to the time slot, the waiting time could be shorter.

Currently, we do not have status checking service online. NKF Admissions Counsellor will be in contact with the applicants regarding the status.

You may pick it up from the NKF main office at 81 Kim Keat Road, Singapore 328836 or call us at 6506 2187 to have the forms sent to you.

Means Test is used to determine the amount of subsidies each person needing care is eligible for. Persons from lower income households will be granted higher subsidies under the means test framework.

Means Test subsidies calculation is based in accordance to MOH guidelines.

Our NKF Admissions Counsellor in-charge will contact you in regards to your means test status.

The Medical Social Workers at your hospital will be able to advise you on the different type of subsidies based on your financial situation.

Kidney Live Donor Support Fund

For information on kidney donation in Singapore, you may wish to contact the National Organ Transplant Unit at Tel: 6321 4390 or email organ.transplant@notu.com.sg.

NKF’s Kidney Live Donor Support Fund covers annual health screenings and medical follow-ups; one-time reimbursement for loss of 2 months actual income of $8,500, whichever is lower: reimbursement of hospitalisation and surgical insurance premiums (capped at MediShield Life premiums); pre-transplant screening and evaluation costs for up to 2 potential donors per kidney recipient; and insurance coverage for Group Living. Policy based on sum insured of $200,000.

For more information and eligibility, please click here. 

Donation & Volunteering

You can make the donation through different platforms:

  1. For online donation: please visit https://nkfs.org/support-us/donation-programmes/
  2. Or you may like to issue a cheque made payable to “The National Kidney Foundation” or “NKF” and mail it to us at 81 Kim Keat Road, Singapore 328836.
  3. Alternatively, you may contact us at 1800-KIDNEYS (5436397) or email us at lifedrops@nkfs.org to send you the donation form.
  4. Road Singapore 328836.

Thank you for your generosity. The cheque should be issued to “The National Kidney Foundation” or “NKF”.

Thank you for bequeathing your CPF contributions to NKF. You can fill up the CPF nomination form which can be downloaded from the CPF website. NKF’s UEN is 200104750M.

Thank you for your generosity. You may like to visit the Ministry of Law’s website where you can find a list of lawyers based in Singapore. Please visit https://eservices.mlaw.gov.sg/lsra/search-lawyer-or-law-firm/

Our UEN/ Company Registration No. / GST Registration No. is 200104750M.

Please send us an email at lifedrops@nkfs.org or call us at 1800-KIDNEYS (5436397) and we will assist you accordingly.

You may email your new mailing address to lifedrops@nkfs.org , Please include your full name, contact number, old mailing address and UEN or NRIC/FIN (last 3 digits)

You may email us at lifedrops@nkfs.org to get the donation form. Please fill up your new GIRO/credit card number, donation amount and sign the form. Thereafter, post the GIRO form back to NKF for processing.

For credit card, you may wish to scan the form and send it to NKF via either of these options:

Email – lifedrops@nkfs.org

Fax – 6253 0417

Mail – 81 Kim Keat Road, Singapore 328836

Please email us at lifedrops@nkfs.org with your full name, UEN/NRIC/FIN and mailing address.

Please email us at lifedrops@nkfs.org to have the termination form sent to you. Please fill it up and send it back to us for processing and auditing purposes.

All outright cash donations to NKF are entitled to tax deduction because NKF is a registered charity with an IPC (Institutions of Public Character) status. We are able to issue tax deductible receipts for qualifying donations to our donors.

You are entitled to a tax deduction of 2.5 times the value of your donation in the preceding year.

You may sign up via our website at https://onlinereg.nkfs.org/vms/volunteerapplicationform.aspx.

If you do not have access to the internet, please call us at 1800-KIDNEYS (5436397) to have the application form sent to you. Please fill it up and send it back to us at 81 Kim Keat Road Singapore 328836.

Once we receive your application, our colleague from the Donor and Volunteer Management Department will contact you for a phone interview. After which, you will be invited to attend our volunteer orientation. This is to allow you to have a better understanding of the volunteering activities.

The minimum age is 13 years old. For volunteers who are below the age of 21, you will need to get parental consent. You may download the consent form here.

We strongly encourage our volunteers to commit at least a year so that we can better support our patients. Our programmes and activities are flexible, you can choose your volunteering schedule according to your interest and availability.

You may volunteer with us basing on your availability. We will send a weekly email to our volunteers indicating the up-coming volunteering opportunities. You can then match your availability to the activity schedule.

We have an array of volunteering activities to suit your interest and availability. To learn more about the volunteering activities we offer, please visit https://nkfs.org/support-us/volunteer-programmes/.

Anyone and everyone can join us as a volunteer. All applicants will be required to undergo a mandatory orientation session where you will gain insights into the Foundation’s cause, kidney disease as well as learn more about the volunteering activities we offer. Regular trainings are also conducted for all volunteers so that they can better perform their role.

Most definitely! We welcome schools, companies and community groups to volunteer with us as part of their Values In Action and Corporate Social Responsibility activities. Please get in touch with us on your interest by sending an email to volunteer@nkfs.org.

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