‘Bikes for Dialysis’ appeal boosts quality of life

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Dialysis patients could pedal their way to fitness - whilst undergoing lifesaving treatment, thanks to a new appeal.

The Sheffield Hospital Charity appeal hopes to raise £25,000 to buy two static bikes for patients at the Northern General Hospital’s Sheffield Kidney Institute, allowing patients to achieve physical goals and boost their quality of life.

Just a handful of other cities around the UK are trialling the programme, which has been successful in improving mobility, health and well-being in patients with kidney disease who are on dialysis. The aim is for it to be an integral part of a patient’s treatment plan.

Sarah Gilbert, a specialist physiotherapist in Acute Medicine Therapy Services is overseeing the project.

“The important role that exercise plays in leading a healthy life cannot be dismissed,” said Sarah, who took part in the Warsaw marathon to raise funds for the £25,000 appeal.

“Physical inactivity can lead to many complications which are amplified in patients with kidney disease.

“Dialysis patients spend a lot of their time travelling to and from clinics, on top of time spent receiving treatment. Patients spend around four hours, two to four times a week undergoing dialysis. This equates to around six weeks per year sitting or lying inactive. There is an ever-growing body of evidence to suggest that exercise and strengthening during dialysis is beneficial for renal patients and should be part of a patient’s treatment plan. Not only does exercise increase the effectiveness of dialysis, by increasing blood flow which enhances the removal of toxins, it also works to improve physical function and enhance wellbeing.”

Chronic kidney disease affects more than three million people in the UK, and The Sheffield Kidney Institute currently sees around 1,300 patients a year. Around 600 of those are being treated with dialysis both in hospital and in satellite units across the city. Sheffield Hospitals Charity is aiming to fund two specially designed exercise bikes - which cost £7,000 each - suitable for dialysis chairs and beds, along with muscle strengthening equipment and a physiotherapist to fully implement and supervise the exercise programme.

Visit www.sheffieldhospitalscharity.org.uk/why-help-patients/kidney-disease to donate.