Mobile medical lifeline: Bus boosts lives – Service gives dialysis patients new freedom

KIDNEY failure patients are getting a new lease on life thanks to a pioneering mobile haemodialysis unit in Mildura.

Sign of life: Big Red Kidney Bus co-ordinator and on-duty dialysis nurse Lesley Ross with the mobile haemodialysis unit yesterday.Pictures: Carmel Zaccone

Sign of life: Big Red Kidney Bus co-ordinator and on-duty dialysis nurse Lesley Ross with the mobile haemodialysis unit yesterday.Pictures: Carmel Zaccone

The Big Red Kidney Bus, developed through a partnership between Kidney Health Australia (KHA) and Monash Health, gives people requiring dialysis the chance to go on holidays or visit families and friends.

It has been on the road since November, travelling all over Victoria and stopping for six weeks at a time.

The unit is located at the Big4 Mildura Deakin Holiday Park, with 18 patients booked in to use it during its stay in the region. 

Big Red Kidney Bus co-ordinator Lesley Ross has been the on-duty nurse in Mildura this week and said she had been touched by her patients’ stories.

“The lease on life they get from this is phenomenal,”she said.

“They can’t just go away on holiday like you or I would, they have to plan everything they do.”

The mobile unit is open for bookings to anyone on haemodialysis in a hospital or satellite dialysis unit, or on home dialysis. It has three dialysis chairs, for the use of up to 12 people each week.

“If a patient is not stable enough to be on the bus, we try to arrange a swap with someone in a holiday chair in the local dialysis unit,” Ms Ross added.