Freedom in a machine

Chronic kidney failure is a disease that requires continuous treatment. Beate’s kidneys are unable to purify her blood, therefore, a machine must do the job – three times a week.

Written: Oct 2019

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Beate Irene Karlsen and her husband Kyrre live just outside the centre of Fauske in Norway’s Nordland county. Their home is one hour’s drive from Nordland hospital in Bodø, where Beate is being treated for her chronic kidney failure. If Beate, like many patients with kidney failure, were to have regular blood dialysis treatment at the hospital, she would have to make this trip at least three times a week.

Instead, Beate has a dialysis machine at home that gives her the much needed treatment during the night. Every morning, she reports blood values and measurement indicators to the hospital, noting any non-conformities. All of this is done digitally.

“The dialysis machine is my freedom for my illness,” Beate tells us when we meet at her home. “I have one at home and one at the cabin, and I’ve even had a machine with me when travelling, like when my daughter graduated from university abroad. I have kidney failure and I am totally dependent on this treatment. The fact that I don’t have to spend all my time in the hospital is important to me.”

Beate still has regular telephone contact with a dedicated nurse in Bodø who follows up on her dialysis treatment. But on a daily basis, it is Kyrre and Beate themselves who provide the vital treatment with Kyrre responsible for clearing and emptying used dialysis fluid, and Beate operating the machine and the app for reporting the numbers.

“Being able to do dialysis at home and at the cabin gives me control over my life,” Beate says, “even though I’m sick. Now I can have a job, work normally and be out among people.”