Ageing NKF community dialysis centres to be refurbished to meet rising demand

The refurbished NKF Dialysis Centre in Toa Payoh can now serve 168 patients each week, up from 84 previously.  ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN

SINGAPORE - Community-based dialysis centres run by the National Kidney Foundation (NKF) that are 20 years or older will be refurbished by 2030.

Between eight and 10 centres will be renovated in phases, with better-designed spaces and latest technology to improve the patient experience.

The upgrades will also help care teams be prepared for future pandemics and meet the increasing demand for dialysis, said NKF chairman Arthur Lang at the reopening of a dialysis centre in Toa Payoh on Sunday.

The 36-year-old centre, which is NKF’s oldest and the first community-based dialysis centre in Singapore, underwent a facelift after a $2.2 million donation from the Toa Payoh Seu Teck Sean Tong temple.

One major change was the centre expanding its floor size, doubling its capacity from 14 to 28 dialysis stations and enabling it to serve 168 patients each week, up from 84 previously.

The new air-conditioning system removes airborne pollutants and allergens, creating a healthier environment for patients with respiratory issues and allergies.

The centre also installed a facial recognition system to offer patients a contactless way to enter. The device also has a wide-angle lens that can detect those in a wheelchair or using a personal mobility aid.

Mr John Chia, the temple’s vice-chairman, said the religious organisation was proud to support a charity that believes in a holistic care approach.

In 1995, the temple donated $1.5 million to NKF to set up a dialysis centre in Yishun, and contributes regularly to patient care, organises activities and distributes household items to them.

“Kidney failure can be a big setback for a patient. So we want to cheer them up and make sure that they are mentally prepared for treatment,” said Mr Chia.

Mr Lang said the upgrading plans are urgent as the number of chronic kidney patients continues to rise daily.

More than 300,000 people in Singapore suffer from chronic kidney disease, and he estimates that at least six people are diagnosed with kidney failure every day.

The foundation runs 41 community-based dialysis centres – all of which have patients on a wait list, said Mr Lang. Each centre will take between six and nine months to be renovated.

The NKF Dialysis Centre in Toa Payoh has been refurbished, with a $2.2 million gift from Toa Payoh Seu Teck Sean Tong (TPSTST).   ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN

“(These are) not good numbers. Singapore will always want to be number one in everything, but we do not want to be number one in this statistic. We have to do something,” he added.

Mr Saktiandi Supaat, an MP for Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC who was at the event, asked Singaporeans to go for health screenings and take precautions before their kidneys fail.

He said: “Health is a personal responsibility. It‘s important for us to raise public awareness and strengthen upstream preventive measures to reduce risk factors, especially diabetes, hypertension and high blood pressure, which are leading causes of kidney failure.”

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