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Welsh Ambulance Trust

‘Bottle cap’ keyrings could mean difference between life and death for dialysis patients

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A simple but potentially life-saving device to help kidney dialysis patients in an emergency has been gifted to Welsh Ambulance Service volunteers.

More than 300 specially designed keyrings have been gifted to the Trust’s Volunteer Car Service, which can help staff stem life-threatening bleeding that can occur when renal dialysis patients are receiving treatment.

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The rubber ‘bottle cap’ keyrings have been donated by kidney charity Kidney Wales, which supports more than 10,000 people with kidney disease in Wales.

‘Bottle cap’ keyrings donated to ambulance service (Image: Wales Ambulance Service)

Danielle Angell Jones, the charity’s Income Generation and Events Manager, said: “Over the last two years, we have been working with the Vascular Access Nurses and the Welsh Clinical Renal Network to distribute thousands of fistula caps to patients, alongside vital information about managing a life-threatening bleed.

“We are pleased to have the opportunity to extend this support even further, by supplying each volunteer driver who assists the Welsh Ambulance Service, taking patients to and from their treatment with a fistula cap keyring for their emergency kit bag.

“Hopefully it will never need to be used, however if a patient does have a life-threatening bleed whilst travelling to or from dialysis it could be lifesaving”.

Volunteer Car Service Drivers use their own vehicles to transport people to routine hospital appointments, including dialysis, oncology and outpatient appointments.

In 2021/22, they made 56,000 journeys across Wales and covered more than one and a half million miles.

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Pennie Walker, the Trust’s Operations Manager Volunteer Car Service, said: “Our Volunteer Car Service drivers are an integral part of our ambulance care team.

“They support the Trust and patients in many ways, including transporting people living with kidney disease to and from their hospital appointments on a regular basis across Wales.

“Each journey allows the patient to connect with their driver, who can provide comfort and ease when they are facing treatment.”

The rubber ‘bottle cap’ keyrings have been donated by kidney charity, Kidney Wales (Image: Wales Ambulance Service)

Judith Bryce, Assistant Director of Operations (National Operations and Support), added: “The Trust is working with Kidney Wales to ensure Volunteer Car Service drivers across Wales are equipped with these keyrings, which could offer immediate support in an emergency situation.

“The Trust would like to thank Kidney Wales for this very kind donation.”

The keyrings will be distributed by the Trust’s Renal Dialysis Hub, which liaises between renal dialysis units, transport providers and ambulance control teams to organise transport for people living with kidney disease.

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(Lead Image: Wales Ambulance Service)

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