NKF introduces night dialysis for kidney patients

Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam greeting patient Sheik Adbul Kadir yesterday at the new dialysis centre in Jurong West. With Mr Tharman is Dr Mooppil Nandakumar (second from right), NKF's director of medical services, and NKF chief execu
Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam greeting patient Sheik Adbul Kadir yesterday at the new dialysis centre in Jurong West. With Mr Tharman is Dr Mooppil Nandakumar (second from right), NKF's director of medical services, and NKF chief executive officer Edmund Kwok (right).ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

Kidney dialysis sessions at night - a first here - mean patients can continue to work during the day.

For people such as dance choreographer Manimaran Thorasamy, who has been undergoing dialysis after 10pm at the National Kidney Foundation's (NKF) newest centre in Jurong West for the past week, this is a godsend. The centre is the first to offer a night shift for dialysis patients.

Mr Manimaran, 55, who also teaches Indian classical and folk dance in schools, said his earlier thrice-weekly evening dialysis sessions used to interfere with his classes.

 

"People like me, we are very busy in the day," he said. "I have classes in the afternoon and evening, so I prefer doing dialysis at night."

Unlike normal dialysis, which lasts around four hours, night-time dialysis takes between six and eight hours. At the new Jurong West centre, which was officially opened yesterday, the night shift starts at 10pm and ends at 6am.

"The chairs are comfortable," Mr Manimaran said. "At night, when dialysis starts, I just relax and go to sleep."

The centre was opened with a $2.2 million donation from the Sirivadhanabhakdi Foundation in Thailand, the first foreign foundation to provide sponsorship to the NKF.

Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam, who spoke at the opening ceremony, stressed the important role that organisations both public and private can play in giving back to society.

He raised the example of how the Singapore Contractors Association raised $900,000 for a new dialysis centre in Yishun, and the Yuhua Citizens' Consultative Committee and its residents raised $1.2 million for another centre in Jurong East.

"It is heartening to see individuals, the private sector and philanthropic foundations giving to the society," Mr Tharman said.

Apart from being able to better accommodate patients' work demands, having longer dialysis sessions at night is also easier on patients' bodies.

Patients on nocturnal dialysis are allowed a less restrictive diet and generally need less medication.

"It is gentler on the heart, so the risk of heart attacks is lower," said Mr Koh Poh Tiong, the NKF chairman. "It is also easier to control blood pressure."

He also said that adding a fourth dialysis slot - on top of the current morning, afternoon and evening shifts - means that the centre is able to take in more patients.

The new centre has space for 32 patients on the night shift.

"It is good because we are short of space," he said. "Every day in Singapore, there are five new cases of kidney failure."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 30, 2016, with the headline 'NKF introduces night dialysis for kidney patients'. Print Edition | Subscribe