A whole systems approach for improving kidney care

A practice manager sorting files.

To mark World Kidney Day on 12 March 2015, we look at the different elements of our kidney health programme to explain how we work to improve kidney care.

Maintenance of kidney health is central to addressing two global priorities: improving vascular health and supporting people vulnerable to complications during episodes of acute illness. Chronic kidney disease (CKD) affects around 6% of the UK adult population, although it is estimated that nearly 900,000 people remain undiagnosed. Acute kidney injury (AKI) is associated with 1 in 5 emergency hospital admissions, but it’s a syndrome that is common, harmful, costly and potentially avoidable.

The projects in our kidney health programme are closely aligned to identify and address key gaps in vascular care across Greater Manchester. Our activities support developments for awareness raising, behavioural change and implementation. Our key areas of focus seek to understand the implementation of CKD and AKI initiatives within primary care, and explore the interface with secondary care, to help improve continuity of care for patients

Collaborating with our local AHSN

We’re working in partnership with the Greater Manchester Academic Health Science Network (GM AHSN) to identify general practice priorities for kidney health. The project will gather information from across the region to determine the importance of kidney health to local Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) and general practices, as well as assessing how CKD is diagnosed, recorded and managed in primary care to provide a basis for targeted and relevant improvements. Read more.

Improving care for CKD patients

Our two CKD and hypertension (high blood pressure) projects will last two years in NHS Bury and Central Manchester CCGs. We’re working with general practices to ensure that: people with CKD are identified and on the appropriate register; CKD registers are accurate; patients with CKD have regular tests for proteinuria and their blood pressure managed to within recommended targets; data quality is improved ; and the knowledge of healthcare professionals is improved. This will ultimately improve the quality of services and care provided to CKD patients. Read more about what we’re doing in Bury and Manchester.

Launching a patient safety card to prevent AKI: Sick day rules

Working with NHS Salford CCG and Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust, we’ve developed a patient safety card about stopping certain medicines during illness (vomiting, diarrhoea and fever) to avoid damaging the kidneys. A common issue with AKI is that patients often don’t know when they move between different practitioners and may act differently if they knew; this project empowers patients to stop their own medications when ill. We’re using educational events to engage GPs, pharmacists, practice nurses and practice managers together, a novel approach that will make healthcare workers more likely to link up the patient journey and factor it into care. Read more.