Wicklow man Keith speaks about Tallaght hospitals new lifestyle programme following his life changing Kidney Transplant

Keith Armstrong

Last Thursday, 9th March saw World Kidney Day being highlighted across the world. On the same day, Kidney transplant recipients have praised a transformational new lifestyle programme at Tallaght University Hospital (TUH). Those who attended the new diet and exercise classes at TUH say it not only improved their overall physical health, but also boosted their confidence.

Kilcoole man, Keith Armstrong who is 1 year post kidney transplant told us: “I felt the programme was very helpful and great for keeping up my health and fitness after my kidney transplant. It gave me great motivation to get up everyday, go back to work and go to college. I would highly recommend Tallaght Hospitals programme to anyone else who gets a transplant.”

These are the second group that have completed the new programme. The eight week virtual classes took place online twice per week and included both an exercise element led by a physiotherapist and an education session led by a dietitian.

Oonagh Smith, Clinical Specialist Renal Dietitian at TUH said, “The healthy eating element of the programme took the form of a 15-20 minute discussion at the start of each online session. As part of this, participants were encouraged to ask any nutrition-related questions, with a different topic discussed each time, for example what constitutes a healthy diet for kidney disease, as well as menu planning and behaviour change techniques.” 

Sarah Williams who is 14 years post kidney transplant says the new programme came, “At a time when I needed it most for my physical and mental health. It has been great, the combination of exercise and nutrition is so important. I have even started sea swimming. I am more confident and the regular checks with the team in TUH, help keep me on my toes.”

Cliona Barrett, Senior Renal Physiotherapist at TUH says, “The fitness classes comprised of both aerobic and strengthening exercises and took place virtually for 45 minutes, twice per week. The exercise section was adapted to patients’ home environment, where no equipment was required except for resistance bands for strengthening exercises. They worked to a moderate intensity level during the class.”

Simon Appleby who is nine years post kidney transplant says, “This was the first time I had done something like this, the programme was great. The focus on diet and fitness means I am a lot healthier than I was and can do a lot more. It also gave me the confidence to try up new things and I have taken up yoga and am doing a lot more walking. I can see a marked improvement.”

Consultant Nephrologist Professor Peter Lavin who is also the lead Clinical Director at TUH says, “Chronic kidney disease, affects over 11% of patients in the Irish Health System. There are currently 5,000 adults and children requiring treatment by dialysis or kidney transplantation in Ireland. This is an increase of nearly 50% in 13 years. I want to compliment the renal team at TUH for introducing this important initiative. It is showing real benefits not just for the physical but also the mental health of our patients.” 

To mark World Kidney Day on March 9th 2023, Tallaght University Hospital held an interactive stand to raise awareness of what we as individuals can do to prevent kidney disease or detect it at an early stage.

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