Salford student designs online information centre for kidney patients

Thursday 29 August 2013

Sufferers of chronic kidney disease (CKD) across the region are benefiting from a new online information centre developed by Cristina Vasilica, a PhD student at the University of Salford’s School of Nursing, Midwifery & Social Work, together with Paula Ormandy, Professor in Long Term Conditions.

The Greater Manchester Kidney Information Network (KIN) offers advice, support and networking opportunities for patients and their families. It will enable patients to become better informed about their condition by sharing their experiences with others and swapping tips about day-to-day treatment and management of kidney disease.

Visitors to the site will discover links to videos and testimonials from kidney patients, along with a forum where users can post questions to other patients or health professionals. Moderators will join users in a series of discussions, whilst a health care professional will respond to enquiries from patients and carers on a daily basis. A section specially designed for young adults is also available.

It is thought that around 1 in 10 people have some degree of CKD. It affects the crucial functioning of the kidneys, which filter the blood to make urine, enabling the body to get rid of excess water, waste products (toxins) and salt. About one litre of blood enters the kidneys every minute and over the course of 24 hours they typically filter around 190 litres (335 pints).

People whose kidneys do not function properly may experience a number of complications, including high blood pressure and fatigue. CKD is also a common complication of diabetes.

The project has been developed in consultation with Hope Kidney Patients Association and Salford Royal Foundation Trust, funded through a grant from the British Renal Society. It forms part of a wider research study being conducted by Cristina into ways of facilitating information provision, networking, communication and self-care amongst patients through social media. The KIN will be complemented by an active presence on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

The KIN will be officially launched with a special event at MediaCityUK on Sunday 1 September. It will take place at The Greenhouse, MediaCityUK, Salford Quays, M50 2EQ from 11.30am – 2.00pm. Refreshments will be provided.

Cristina said: “The event is open to anyone who has kidney disease as well as their friends, families and carers. We will be demonstrating the Kidney Information Network and visitors will have the opportunity to meet patients and health professionals from across the region.”

Advance booking is essential. To reserve your place contact Kate at katemc@sky.com or telephone 01942 874 334.