The NHS campaign to improve the care of people at risk of, or with Acute Kidney Injury

I’m Richard Fluck and I’ve been working with a great team from across the NHS to develop Think Kidneys, raising awareness of acute kidney injury (AKI) and develop fantastic, practical resources for the NHS and social care.

Our aim is for a future in which health and care professionals think about kidney status in the same way that they do now about blood pressure and heart rates.

Acute kidney injury is a sudden reduction in a person’s kidney function. AKI is most commonly seen in the context of other serious illness, such as sepsis, and in someone whose kidneys are vulnerable.

It is not, as might be suggested by the name, AKI caused by a physical blow to the body. The kidneys do a lot to keep us well, so when they go wrong lots of problems arise so AKI causes suffering, can be life-changing and costs the NHS a lot.

2017-03-27_58d93dd505132_TKwebsiteAround 100,000 deaths in the UK are associated with AKI every year, of which 30% could be avoided.

Think Kidneys aim is to raise awareness, reduce avoidable harm and death and improve care for people with AKI in the community or in the hospital.

Patients and NHS professionals have developed all the resources together. We’ve taken advantage of their passion, skill and commitment to reduce the risk of AKI, improve outcomes for patients and reduce the financial burden on the NHS.

2017-03-27_58d93dd505283_Think_Kidney_logo_RGB_300dpi-v1All the resources can be found online www.thinkkidneys.nhs.uk . Case studies, blogs and latest news are on our website, where we share how people are working differently and improving awareness, prevention, detection, treatment and care right across the NHS and social care.

A public campaign was launched in 2016 to raise awareness of the importance of our kidneys for health and life. Early research found only 50% of the population know that their kidneys make urine. Our campaign reached over 20 million people through the media and our posters, which can be ordered here www.thinkkidneys.nhs.uk for free, are on display in many GP surgeries, pharmacies, clinics and care homes. We are very keen to help people who are at risk of AKI understand how they can help themselves.

Recognised as a patient safety issue, Think Kidneys is supported by the UK Renal Registry and NHS Improvement Safety team. Using existing blood results an algorithm was implemented in labs systems to provide an AKI warning stage test result. Not only does this help the care of individual patients but the data are collected by the UK Registry to help the NHS improve care across the country – this is the first and largest set of information on AKI in the world.

Find out more and join our community online to change the way AKI is managed in your organisation at www.thinkkidneys.nhs.uk Think Kidneys – it’s all about safety, improvement, quality and better care.