Nurses from across Gippsland have advanced their knowledge of kidney health at a recent study day run by the Renal Society of Australasia (RSA).

With dialysis units at places like Yarram and Sale, it’s important that Gippsland nurses have an opportunity to expand their skills and knowledge.

Twelve Latrobe Regional Health nurses attended the Traralgon session, including Dialysis Nurse Unit Manager Madeleine Balcombe.

“The event had a strong attendance because we didn’t have to travel to Melbourne. Not only did we get an opportunity to build our skills, but we were able to network with local nurses and share our experiences,” Ms Balcombe said.

“We were fortunate to hear from people such as Mr Ming Yi, Director of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery at Monash Health, as well as colleagues working in palliative care and a special session hearing about a patient’s journey through the system from diagnosis of kidney disease to transplant.”

One highlight of the event was the awarding of three ‘length of service’ badges to LRH staff.

Madeleine Balcombe, Alison Poidomani, and Alice Mason all received acknowledgment for 25, 18, and 17 years of membership in RSA, respectively.

One in ten Australians have signs of kidney disease, and with no cure available, many patients will spend up to 60 hours connected to a dialysis machine each month.

“Patients will come into LRH three times a week and receive a five-hour treatment in our dialysis unit on each of those days,” Madeleine said.

“There are dialysis units at Wonthaggi, Yarram, Warragul, Sale, Bairnsdale and Orbost, all busy treating people so they can get back home with as little interference in their lives as possible.”

While largely preventable, kidney disease in Australia is continuing to climb.

Risk factors include high blood pressure, smoking, being overweight and diabetes.

Chronic kidney disease contributed to the death of 20,000 Australians in 2021, and since 2000, the number of chronic kidney disease deaths has risen 97 per cent.

The most common contributor to developing kidney disease is diabetes.