RENAL UNIT: Bundaberg North Lions Club members Norma Buchanan and Ann Duffy feel the pulse of the new training arm for cannulation procedures.
RENAL UNIT: Bundaberg North Lions Club members Norma Buchanan and Ann Duffy feel the pulse of the new training arm for cannulation procedures. Mike Knott BUN220316RENAL1

Tool to improve lives thanks to North Lions Club

IT'S a little weird placing your fingers on a fake arm and feeling a pulse - but staff at Bundaberg Hospital are very excited about this lifelike new addition to their toolbox.

The new Smash patient training arm has been donated by North Bundaberg Lions Club and will mean students and nursing staff helping dialysis patients can perfect the art of inserting a needle into a fistula.

"A fistula, in a nutshell, is where we take an artery and a vein and join them together," the hospital's renal access co-ordinator Darrall Harvey said.

The fistula is created surgically in the patient's forearm.

"We do that so we can get at your blood at a decent rate," Mr Harvey said.

When we put little needles in to the small veins in your arms it only allows us to get a small amount - but we need large volumes, around 250-300ml a minute to do a good dialysis."

The training arm has soft rubber "flesh" and tubes can be fed through it, simulating the arteries and veins, different types of fistulas and other exercises.

Mr Harvey said it was a vast improvement on the hospital's previous training arm and by improving staff skills, it would reduce the risk of damaging fistulas which can take days to create.

"Students and nursing staff can practice getting the needle in - you can feel the change in resistance, and once you've got it in, you can see the blood moving through the tube. It's a lot easier sticking a needle into a piece of rubber for the first time than a living, breathing person," Mr Harvey said.

"The North Lions' donation will allow us to simulate pulse and blood flow as realistically as possible, and save damage to fistulas we've spent a long time developing."

Former dialysis patient Gary Spann - who has since had a successful kidney transplant - said the tool would improve life for patients on dialysis, an uncomfortable process at the best of times.

"I was on dialysis for 13 months and I experienced what you've just seen on that arm - and believe you and me, 13 years ago it was trial and error," he said.

"The nurses were very, very good, but nobody's perfect.

"Something like that arm just gives them practice without subjecting you to the pain and bruising - if you miss the vein, you get bruising."

The Lions donation drive was led by Norma Buchanan, who, like Mr Spann, is a member of the Bundaberg Renal Support Group.


NEW RSL VEHICLE EX-SERVICE and service personnel in Bundaberg will benefit from a $44,090 Veteran and Community Grant which has purchased a 12-seater bus.

Member for Hinkler Keith Pitt congratulated the Bundaberg RSL application.

"Reducing social isolation is an important part of the work the Bundaberg RSL Sub-Branch's welfare officers carry out, and this bus will make it easier," Mr Pitt said.

The 12-seater Toyota Hiace bus will transport RSL members to morning teas, lunches and other group events.

Sub-Branch secretary Rudy Valzan said it was identified during the organisation's strategic planning sessions that a bus would be a valuable resource.

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