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Sea, sand…and dialysis?

Jun 25 2012 Posted by Laura Canning

Holidays can be difficult if you’re in poor health. And if you need kidney dialysis, trying to get to a hospital three times a week can be impossible when you’re away from home.

But visitors to a North Devon caravan park can now have dialysis on site.

Hele Valley Holiday Park in Ilfracombe has just introduced a purpose built caravan with two renal dialysis machines, which allows kidney patients visiting North Devon to receive dialysis without making a lengthy detour to the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital. The scheme is operated by the Royal Derby Hospital which also runs a similar site in Wales and was funded by the British Kidney Patients Association.

Carol Rhodes, senior sister at the Royal Derby Hospital dialysis unit, said: ‘It's very hard for people on dialysis to go on holiday. They have to go to hospital three times a week for a four hour treatment and quite often that hospital can be a two hour drive away.

‘It's very inconvenient which is why we wanted to supply our own caravan which we could staff.

‘We asked our patients where they would most like to go on holiday and the South West came up as a strong preference, particularly North Devon.’

Hospital staff contacted holiday parks around the country asking if they’d be willing to host the facility, and Hele Valley agreed.

Hele Valley Holiday Park director Jenny Dovey said: ‘For the past ten years we've had a regular customer who visits the park three times a year.

‘Two years ago he started dialysis treatment which meant travelling from Ilfracombe to Exeter. It took a big chunk out of his holiday.

‘So when Carol contacted us, and knowing about our loyal customer's difficulties, we thought this would be a brilliant opportunity.’

The dialysis caravan can treat eight patients a week and is open to patients for three weeks a year.