Author Topic: Fresenius does away with HD Foot Plates: A patient letter to the company  (Read 6914 times)


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Hemoman68 wanted to share with everyone a copy of the email that he sent to various people in the Fresenius corporation.  Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.  Thanks

My name is Anthony Brown and I am a hemo dialysis patient in Oshtemo, MI at the Fresenius center there. I am writing to you in regards to the removal of the foot plate steps on our dialysis chairs. On Wednesday, April 7, 2010 when I arrived at dialysis for treatment I was surprised to find that the foot plate steps had been removed from all chairs in our unit. I inquired with staff and was told that this was a corporate decision and that more information would be following.

Later I was brought a memo from the Clinical Manager of our unit, Mary Steen, and made to sign stating that I had received and read the aforementioned memo. I found the reasons stated in the memorandum to be next to unbelievable. While I am truly saddened to hear that someone lost their life because of the foot plate steps, I would question the reason for removing them from every chair in every FMC unit in the country. These steps are very important to almost every dialysis patient daily during their treatments.

For most patients the steps are an integral part of their being able to get into the chair and position themselves comfortably, while others use them during their treatments because they donít like to lay back with their feet up, but need the support for their legs so that they arenít hanging freely which can cause severe circulation issues as the leg muscles have to work harder without any support, which in turn uses more oxygen and can cause some patients other problems as well. Almost every patient at the end of their treatment needs those steps while they are holding their sites so that once again they have the support for their legs. I would imagine that you do realize that there are all sizes of people dialyzing in your units around the country, from the very short to the very tall. I myself am 6í2Ē tall and without the steps on the chairs my feet dangle if I sit back in the chair comfortably. With my neuropathy in my legs this is extremely painful for me without support under my legs so I have to sit forward in the chair which is not comfortable either.

In my honest opinion I see the removal of these foot plate steps as an over reaction to a serious accident that could have been prevented with better staff attention to patients not to mention better patient education. Now with the removal of these steps staff spends more time than normal having to help patients in and out of the chairs as they donít have the ability to step up into the chairs. Not only is this a distraction that is unwarranted, but it will add more time to getting patients on and off of the machine every day. After having talked with some of the nurses and both my current unit and my old unit I realize that staff has the same concerns that I do. I was also informed that when removed, these steps were thrown away and that the according to one bio med person, there is no way to reorder them, so in effect the only way to fix this problem in units where the steps were disposed of would be to purchase new chairs.

Now I realize that you probably are having problems understanding completely where I am coming from, but as I have always said it is extremely hard for administration and management to realize the import of their decisions due to the fact that you have not spent the time in the chairs that patients have. Myself I have been doing hemo dialysis for 8 years and been on dialysis for 14 years, during that time I have never seen a nurse, tech, manager or any other employee who was willing to take the time to spend four hours in one of the chairs to understand some of the complaints of the patients. If you would take the time to spend the time in the chairs, with your arm sufficiently restrained to simulate dialysis, you would understand better the need for the foot plate steps and how their removal affects not only the patients but the staff as well.

Once again I am reminded while writing this that Fresenius prides itself on UltraCare dialysis, which is defined as such:

UltraCareģ is the name used to describe the commitment of the entire Fresenius Medical Care organization to deliver the highest standard of care to its patients. Each Fresenius Medical Services staff member lives the UltraCare mission every day: Improving the Quality of Life of Every Patient, Every Treatment.

Now I would love an explanation on how the removal of these foot plate steps due to accidents that could have been prevented by staff intervention in most cases and if not, then patient education, follows in the UltraCare definition? Not only does the removal of these foot plate steps not deliver the highest standard of care to patients as they are being inconvenienced from beginning to end of their treatment, but also is definitely not Improving the Quality of Life of Every Patient, Every Treatment.

In my personal opinion these need to be replaced immediately before something happens to another patient and that the staff and patients in the unit where the original accidents happened need to be better educated on how to avoid such problems in the future.

I look forward to your response to this email and hope that some form of reconciliation can be reached in the issue of the foot plate steps.

Thank you for your time

Anthony Brown

('90) 1st KTx
('01) 4 1/2 yrs PD
('05) 2 yrs HD
('07) 2nd KTx

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