May 28, 2010 – Laura Simms has spent 12 hours a week receiving hemodialysis treatment since last fall, when her kidneys failed as a result of high blood pressure. The 50-year-old Monroe resident says the staff at University of Virginia Health System's Amherst Dialysis clinic have become like family to her.
"They pamper you," she said. "They are continuously checking on you, making sure you're OK and asking if they can get you anything. I'm very pleased, and I love the staff there."
Recently, the Renal Physicians Association recognized the dedication of the Amherst Dialysis staff with its second annual End Stage Renal Disease Patient Safety Improvement Award. Amherst Dialysis was nominated by Mid-Atlantic Renal Coalition executive director Nancy Armistead and board member Dr. Frank Maddux. The award is given annually to nephrology professionals who submit their best practices to the Keeping Kidney Patients Safe website. U.Va.'s submission addressed hand hygiene, patient falls and adherence to protocols.
Dr. W. Kline Bolton, professor of internal medicine in the Division of Nephrology at the U.Va. School of Medicine and medical director of U.Va. Renal Services, accepted the award on behalf of the Amherst Dialysis staff at the Renal Physicians Association's annual meeting earlier this month. Kim Smith, Amherst's administrative coordinator, submitted the entry.
In a December survey, 94 percent of the clinic's patients said that they were satisfied with the effectiveness of patient education and the availability of medication information. Ninety-nine percent were satisfied with the "degree to which staff explain." In June 2008, the scores for those same items were 78 percent, 79 percent and 78 percent, respectively.
U.Va. Renal Services operates eight hemodialysis facilities throughout central Virginia. Patients with kidney failure must undergo some form of regular dialysis treatment or receive a kidney transplant. Hemodialysis patients typically require the treatment for nine to 12 hours a week.