Pam knows the benefits self-care and independence can have on patients with kidney disease. That’s why it is her mission to educate and support patients with kidney disease to take control of their own care from the comfort of their home.
Pam Cerqueira has worked in GRH’s regional renal program for 31 years and has experience in many areas of the program including peritoneal dialysis, hemodialysis and outpatient clinics. Now the home dialysis coordinator for the last seven years, Pam has worked with many patients to bring their care home. She ensures that all patients who start dialysis in the region are assessed for home therapy options, with about 28 per cent choosing this option.
1. Why did you choose a career in kidney care?
I have always enjoyed teaching patients and guiding them to understand the implications of living with chronic disease. I also enjoy helping them reflect on their goals and values to determine their best treatment options and providing a positive care experience.
2. The regional renal program offers options for patients to manage their care from the comfort of their home. What does this mean?
Our program supports a culture of home first. A home therapy allows our patients to self-manage their treatments, offering autonomy and control and a better quality of life. The dialysis equipment and supplies are provided to patients through the regional renal program. We ensure resources and safety of equipment so patients can receive consistent, high quality care supported by the program’s care team and community partners in their homes.
3. How does this benefit our patients?
It allows patients to manage and participate in their own care, to make sure it meets their needs, improving quality of life. Home therapies are gentler and better resemble the kidneys natural function, offering freedom and flexible schedules for work and family time. Patients can use their dialysis time as they choose while in their homes. This decreases time spent travelling to the dialysis unit and travelling expenses, and it may also decrease dietary and fluid restrictions.
4. Why should someone on in-centre dialysis consider home dialysis?
More frequent or daily dialysis available with home therapies promotes less water and waste build-up for our patients. This contributes to a lower rate of death and fewer side-effects.
5. What changes in kidney care have you seen over the course of your career?
One change is the promotion of independence and self-management, empowering patients to be partners in their own care. Having patients understand their chronic disease, aligning their values and beliefs, ensuring they make critical, stressful and complex decisions about their future course of care.
6. How does the multidisciplinary team work together to make home treatment options possible?
The regional renal program’s multidisciplinary team works collaboratively to support the health and wellbeing of patients with end stage renal disease. Our patients are challenged with complex decisions regarding lifestyle choices and treatment options. We value their beliefs and goals and help guide them striving to improve their health outcomes through independence and self-management.
7. What makes you proud to work in renal program?
Each patient and family has their own unique journey. Our team supports and educates patients with challenging medical, physical, social, financial and mental health concerns. We ensure patients understand their treatment choices and manage them through their journey of chronic kidney disease. We provide high quality care and are innovative in guiding patients to make life changing choices, enabling independence when possible.