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December 2021

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The McMonty MediHood at Sunshine Hospital.

Dialysis clinic focus is on coronavirus patients

Western Health has opened Victoria’s first dialysis clinic dedicated to kidney patients with a confirmed or suspected COVID-19 diagnosis.

Previously, dialysis patients needed to be admitted to an acute ward to undergo their treatment, due to the risk of transmission.

The clinic at Sunshine Hospital allows patients to be treated as outpatients – meaning their dialysis does not take any longer than usual.

The unit has four dialysis chairs, each in its own single room, and patients sit under the protective McMonty Medihood.

A fully mobile device, the McMonty is a transparent, plastic cover fitted over a hospital bed and the upper body of a patient.

Inspired by a pram’s retractable hood, McMonty is the brainchild of Western Health’s Dr Forbes McGain and the head of mechanical engineering at the University of Melbourne Professor Jason Monty.

COVID and SCOVID (suspected COVID) patients are treated on alternate days and all clinicians wear full personal protective equipment (PPE) at all times.

Western Health complex care divisional director Kirsty Barnes and director of nephrology Associate Professor Craig Nelson oversaw the set-up of the clinic.

‘Dialysis units are designed as common spaces with multiple people sharing the same room and air space, which is not ideal in the COVID-19 setting,’ Ms Barnes said.

‘Without a dedicated COVID dialysis unit we would be required to either admit the patients to an inpatient bed, even if they had mild symptoms and not medically requiring to be admitted.’

Ms Barnes said the unit was a collaboration between the teams from nephrology, infection prevention, infectious diseases, intensive care and engineering.

Thirteen COVID-positive patients received their dialysis in the clinic in the first month of operation.

The opening of the clinic at Sunshine Hospital followed successful trials at Western Health’s Williamstown and Sunbury hospitals.