Healthy Kidneys Project

This project has been completed

The aim of the Northern NSW Healthy Kidneys Project was to reduce hospital admissions relating to chronic kidney disease through the prevention, detection and management of early stage chronic kidney disease in the three Aboriginal Medical Services (AMSs) located in Northern NSW.

The project was sponsored by the Northern NSW Aboriginal Partnership Forum, comprising of:

  • North Coast Primary Health Network
  • Northern NSW Local Health District
  • Bulgarr Ngaru Medical Aboriginal Corporation
  • Bullinah Aboriginal Health Service
  • Rekindling the Spirit Ltd

The project demonstrated that through collaboration between primary and acute care services, chronic kidney disease can be detected and managed early, thereby reducing the need for renal dialysis.

As a result of project activities it was shown that:

  • There was a 36 per cent increase in the number of people who were diagnosed with chronic kidney disease as a result of project activities. At the beginning of the project, 245 people were recorded as having chronic kidney disease. In March 2019 this increased to 382 people – an increase of 137 people. One AMS saw a 66 per cent increase.
  • There was a 32 per cent increase in knowledge amongst clinicians on the pathophysiology of chronic kidney disease, the importance of early detection and methods of early intervention/treatment.
  • AMS Aboriginal Health Workers and practice nurses can be influential ‘champions’ for chronic kidney disease thereby changing clinical practice and culture regarding screening and follow up. Aboriginal Health Workers are the first and trusted contact within an AMS for the community and are integral to the improvement of screening and education for chronic kidney disease.
  • When a whole team approach was implemented, the results were more successful.

Four out of five AMS sites now offer a chronic kidney disease clinic with a NNSW LHD nurse practitioner that educates patients who are at risk of, or are in the early stages of chronic kidney disease, to help prevent and slow down the progression of the disease. This in turn will improve the quality of life for the patient and minimise costs associated to renal replacement therapies.

The final project report is available here.

To find out more please contact our NCPHN Aboriginal Health Team: click here