Monday, March 25, 2013

A Community Setting for Renal Patients

My partner Mavis and I just completed a weeklong rotation in various DaVita Dialysis centers working with patients suffering from kidney disease. I was originally confused that the renal rotation is categorized as a community rotation in the UMD dietetic internship. This was not exactly clear to me before the week began. Surely, a clinic where there is a fully staffed medical team including: doctors, nurses, social workers, and techs classifies as clinical rotation?  I mean labs are being drawn constantly and we are working with patients that have a very serious medical condition.
However, once my rotation began I started to understand that for patients on dialysis, their center is a consistent part of their life. They come 2-3 times every week so it is very important that this clinical setting acts as a welcoming community location to enhance the quality of life for patients and to motivate them to care for themselves. A renal, dialysis dietitian has a very important job monitoring labs including potassium, phosphorus, parathyroid hormone, calcium, and albumin to name a few. They need to provide excellent care to prolong the patient’s life and keep them healthy. But additionally the dietitian has an opportunity to improve the daily happiness in patients. The DaVita clinics Mavis and I visited were working to make their centers more fun and hospitable  by competing among centers in a themed decorating contest they referred to as "The Hall of Fame". The object was to decorate the center with pictures of staff and patients surrounding the theme of diversity. The staff were working diligently in all the centers we visited! Check out the picture of me with last years decoration, Dr. Love!! 

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