Mediclinic Potchefstroom has expanded its renal services to serve the community even better within a new, expanded multidisciplinary unit for kidney health management and treatment.
All kidney disease-related conditions can now be treated under one roof at Mediclinic Potchefstroom’s multidisciplinary renal unit.

Mediclinic Potchefstroom Renal Services has experienced rapid growth since opening in 2020, which resulted in the need to expand and relocate to new premises. The solution has come in the form of a brand-new unit – opened in June 2023 – where all acute and chronic kidney disease-related conditions can be treated within one facility.  

Previously, the renal unit had only four dialysis stations, while the new premises can simultaneously dialyse a dozen patients in comfort, with each bed having its own iPad for watching movies or surfing the internet. Following the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of renal failure cases in Potchefstroom has risen, which motivated Mediclinic to expand its services to accommodate all kidney patients in the area, Vanessa van Niekerk, Unit Manager of Mediclinic Potchefstroom Renal Services explains.

Unique clinical model

The new unit offers all treatment modalities, patient support, a unique clinical model, and world-class equipment and technology. A dedicated renal team is headed up by nephrologist Dr Edgar Lutaaya, a clinical technologist and two renal nurses. He is assisted by three Potchefstroom-based local physicians – Dr David MasukuDr Thabo Pilane, and Dr Prenolan Pillay. A dietitian and social worker are also available.

Highly trained staff treat, manage, and support patients at the world-class unit.

“Each of our experienced staff members adds to the unit’s multidisciplinary treatment approach. Being diagnosed with renal failure is a shock to a patient and necessitates many lifestyle adjustments. Professional support helps in coping with family relationships and work commitments,” says Van Niekerk. 

“Diet plays a critical role in optimal management of kidney disease, while fluid intake needs to be restricted. This is why our patients require specialist advice from our dietitian. Our social worker is also available to provide counselling and support, as patients need to be educated so they understand that renal failure is not a death sentence but does require lifestyle changes.”

Enhanced dialysis services

Mediclinic Potchefstroom Renal Services conducts two shifts of dialysis on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. The following treatments are available:

Chronic unit

• Online-hemodiafiltration (HDF) treatments, which take four hours.

Acute unit

• Online HDF 
• Sustained low-efficiency dialysis (SLED), which compared to online HDF is a longer and more gentle treatment 
• Continuous venovenous haemodialysis (CVVHD)
• Continuous venovenous hemodiafiltration (CVVHDF)
• Plasmapheresis.

“In some cases, renal failure can be reversed but other patients are not so fortunate and after discharge will be placed on a chronic programme,” Van Niekerk explains.

A patient with renal failure undergoes dialysis.

Serving the community with comprehensive care

Mediclinic Potchefstroom has a kidney care programme that refers patients in the early stage of renal failure to renal services. 

“We remind them at intervals, depending on their stage, to visit the laboratory and have blood tests done to trace the progress of the renal failure,” Van Niekerk says. “We can then guide them on dietary and lifestyle changes and in most cases prolong the period before they need dialysis. By the time they must start on dialysis, they’ve accepted that they need the treatment. By then they’re also very well educated about the process and are much more comfortable with it.”

The staff at Mediclinic Potchefstroom Renal Services extend this educational role into the broader community as well. They regularly participate in community awareness events for World Kidney Week, and Diabetes Awareness, and liaise with the Wits Donald Gordon Medical Centre Transplant Unit to create awareness around kidney transplants. This is all part of the unit’s commitment to serving the community – in addition to delivering a more comprehensive basket of services to patients living with kidney disease.

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