Facing the facts on kidney disease in rural Australia

03 April 2013

It is estimated that one in three Australian adults is at increased risk of developing chronic kidney disease, and one in nine adults has some sign of kidney disease. People living in remote and very remote areas of Australia have much higher rates of end-stage kidney disease than their metropolitan counterparts, particularly in younger age groups. Data from the Australian and New Zealand Dialysis and Transplant Registry have demonstrated that survival of patients on dialysis is worse in rural and regional areas than in the major cities.

To raise awareness of this situation, and to assist individuals and organisations to address the needs and develop solutions, the National Rural Health Alliance has partnered with Kidney Health Australia to produce a new Fact Sheet, Kidney disease in rural Australia.

This Fact Sheet, No 35 in a series published by the Alliance, points out that patients in rural and remote areas who plan to initiate renal replacement therapy face unique challenges that may ultimately affect their health outcomes. These include the impacts of distance such as long travel times, reduced transport options, and difficulties associated with relocating to significant population areas where dialysis and transplantation facilities are typically located.

Gordon Gregory, Executive Director of the Alliance, said that better outcomes would be achieved through access to home dialysis or improved access to dialysis units closer to home.

“Undertaking routine dialysis reviews and transplantation clinical assessment reviews locally would provide a helpful alternative to requiring patients to travel significant distances to a metropolitan renal unit,” Mr Gregory said.

“Telemedicine also has the potential to improve access to multidisciplinary teams for case management meetings and investigations for people in rural and remote areas.”

Fact Sheet 35: Kidney disease in rural Australia is now available on the Alliance’s website. Further information is also available from Kidney Health Australia, a national health care charity with a vision ‘to save and improve the lives of Australians affected by kidney disease’. Their Kidney Health Information Service (free call) is on 1800 454 363 or visit www.kidney.org.au

Media Enquiries: 

Gordon Gregory - Executive Director: 02 6285 4660