The Pediatric Dialysis Program at Vermont Children’s Hospital at the UVM Medical Center provides exceptional care to the brave children and their families who together are battling kidney disease.
Each year, Dr. Ann Guillot and her staff at Vermont Children’s Hospital care for approximately one to four acute kidney disease patients and one to six chronic kidney disease patients. While the number is small, there is a tremendous amount of skill and training required of our nurses, dieticians, social workers, and doctors to meet the needs of these young patients.
In many cases, kidney disease progresses to end-stage kidney disease, requiring the patient to choose between dialysis treatment or a kidney transplant. In addition to the emotional stress that this brings, there are the many hours spent traveling back and forth to the hospital where patients receive dialysis three days a week for approximately three to four hours.
Our dialysis patients also require significant dietary changes in order to remain healthy. Favorite foods like ice cream, French fries, and pizza are not allowed, and families are often forced to make significant changes to their weekly meals.
For young patients with kidney disease who have received a kidney transplant, the restoration of kidney function can offer a better quality of life, and a greater chance of a longer life.
Joshua LaFountain and his family found that the Vermont Children’s Hospital dialysis and transplant teams made all the difference in his overall experience. Joshua was diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disease that led to dialysis and, ultimately, a kidney transplant. His mother Kelly says, “The dialysis nurses and doctors made us feel very comfortable and were attentive to Josh’s every need. – they have become our new friends and we think of them as part of our extended family. The transplant team was amazing – they, too, were very caring and took excellent care of my son.”
There are more than 93,000 candidates on the national wait list for kidney transplantation, nearly 800 between the ages of 1 and 17. In 2010, four children on the UVM Medical Center’s waitlist received kidney transplants. The transplant team and pediatric dialysis teams at the UVM Medical Center work together to ensure that these special patients and their families receive exceptional care.
Kate Devine, RN, Bette Gilmartin, RN, Ann Guillot, MD, Cydney Wolf, RD and the acute dialysis nurses work together as a team within the Pediatric Dialysis Program at Vermont Children’s Hospital at the UVM Medical Center.