Trinity Health Kidney Centre

Being a Kidney Patient

Living a health life with a chronic illness

Nobody wants to have a chronic or long-term illness. For some, changes due to illness can bring both physical difficulties and emotional distress. However, it is possible to live a healthy life while managing a chronic illness. Health is feeling well in body and mind, and a healthy life is one that seeks balance for both body and mind. Therefore, a healthy way to live with a chronic illness is to work at overcoming the physical and emotional difficulties that kidney disease can cause. The goal is to achieve the greatest possible physical capability and pleasure for life.

The following hints and ideas are suggestions to promote a healthier way of living:

1. Learn about your illness:

You are the only one who lives with your illness daily so…..Observe your illness so that you can accurately report to your medical team

2. Manage your Medication:

Learn about what your medication is and what it is for. Imagine that the medication is helping you. Keep in mind why you are taking the medication

3. Learn to communicate with your Health Care team:

PREPARE for meetings/appointments (write it down if necessary); ASK your questions; REPEAT the information you get so you know you have heard it correctly; TAKE ACTION or put it into practice

4. Eat healthy

Follow the instructions your dietitian gives you! Check out this site which was put together by Dietitans especially for patients with chronic kidney disease. The Irish Kidney Diet gives you recipes, meal plans, shopping lists and background information on food. Check it out on the Irish Kidney Diet website

5. Sleep!

Quality & quantity have direct relationship to our mood and time for our body to heal

6. Finances/Work

Think about what changes you may need to prepare for or things you may need to gig around

7. Be Active

Exercise releases ‘happy hormones’ that have a big impact on how well we feel and how good we feel about our bodies

8. Stay involved

Keep up with friends, social clubs, work and activity. Your illness may not change your lifestyle that much and you will need the support and fun of the people and things that mean the most to you

9. Learn something new

Once you have ‘settled into’ the changes that your illness brings think about learning something new, either through books or an adult education course. Learning something new, for example a new craft or hobby, has a direct positive affect on our personal sense of achievement and can provide a new outlet for friendship, activity or creativity.

Talking to My Children or Grandchildren About My Illness

Your first reaction when you are trying to adjust to your illness is to protect your children from things that could upset them. Because of this it can be hard to know whether you should tell children about your illness or what and how much to tell them.

Even though you know your children or grandchildren best, you may be surprised at how well they deal with the news and detail of your illness and treatment. We cannot stop children from feeling sad at difficult news, but by giving them information and helping them understand their own reaction we can support them in their reaction to the news. Children can often ‘know’ that things are changing for a parent or grandparent without any news being given to them. For that reason it is important that they do not feel isolated by the lack of conversation around the changes that they see or hear about. Children who are included in what’s going on are less likely to have problems adjusting to your illness, though it may still be hard learning to adjust.

When should I tell the children/grandchildren?

Often there may not be a ‘right time’ to tell children. You may need to come to terms with the news yourself before you talk with your children. Children can feel more included in the treatment plan if they are informed in the early stages of the illness. A good time to talk with them is before some obvious change occurs, like significant fatigue, hospital admissions or Dialysis commencement

Who should tell my children/grandchildren?

In general it is easier if the information comes from someone who is close to the child, so you or your partner or a close relative.

How can I tell my children/grandchildren?

This can take some time and thought, and it can help to rehearse what you are going to say. Try to use the most clear and simple explanations possible, it can help to link the information with things they have already observed or been told.

What should I tell my children/grandchildren?

  • Use the correct words for the illness – e.g. Renal or Kidney failure, Dialysis
  • Explain how your health may be affected – e.g. tiredness, feeling sick sometimes, needing Dialysis
  • Give some info on how the treatment works in simple, clear language
  • Reassure them about their daily routine and that as a family you will all continue to make each day as good as it can be

If you feel you would like help around talking with your children/grandchildren, then do ask for support from your Renal Social Worker.

Further information for patients

What do the kidneys do?

Kidney Patient Guide
Irish Kidney Association 

Choosing Dialysis
Types of Dialysis

Description of Dept

The Trinity Health Kidney Centre is an academic health science centre comprising the academic department of Nephrology in Trinity College Dublin and the clinical nephrology units in Tallaght and St James’s Hospitals.

Renal care is one of our specialties with a mission to deliver excellent, efficient and innovative clinical care to our patients in the Dublin Midlands hospital grouping and beyond, and to work with our colleagues in St James’s in leading discovery in the field of kidney disease research in Ireland. The expertise we have built since the hospital opened is now the second largest provider of dialysis services in the country delivering almost 30,000 dialysis treatments a year.

The academic unit is centred on the Renal Inflammation Group based in the Institute of Molecular Medicine in TCD and the Rare Kidney Disease and Vasculitis registry and biobank. This basic science facility is linked closely with the clinical units, which provide a wide range of clinical services to patients with kidney disease, including centre haemodialysis, home dialysis therapies (including peritoneal dialysis), renal transplant follow-up, acute kidney injury management (including plasma exchange) and outpatient renal services. Further information on this centre can be found through this link

How to Find Us

Osborne Ward  is a combined medical and kidney patient ward, The ward is on Level 3 in the Hospital. The easiest way to get there is to go through the main hospital entrance to the lifts in the main foyer. Take the lift to Level 3, turn along the corridor to the main ward area. Osborne Ward is the last ward on the left-hand side.

Haemodialysis Unit - The outpatient Haemodialysis Unit is situated on the ground floor of Tallaght University Hospital. Enter through the main hospital entrance and turn right into the Main Hospital Corridor.  The entrance is the second left turn off the main corridor. The Unit is open from 7:30am to 8:30pm  Monday – Sunday, including Christmas Day and Bank Holidays. To contact the Haemodialysis Unit, you should ring direct to +353 1 414 2357 / +3531 414 2350.  (Only during the times listed above).

Continuous Ambulatory Peritoneal Dialysis (CAPD) - The CAPD Unit is situated on Level 3 in Osborne Ward. Enter through the main hospital, take the lift to level 3 and follow the signs for the Osborne Ward. The CAPD staff are on duty seven days a week.  To contact the CAPD Unit call + 353 1 414 4001 or +353 1 414 2000 and ask for Bleep 7032.

Out Patient Clinics – There are a number of outpatient clinics running in Tallaght University Hospital for our Renal patients .

Trinity Health Kidney Centre Contact

Medical Team

Professor George Mellotte – Consultant of Nephrology (Trinity Health Kidney Centre clinical director) Professor Catherine Wall – Consultant Nephrologist
Professor Peter Lavin – Consultant Nephrologist
Dr Francis Ward  – Consultant Nephrologist
Dr Caitriona McEvoy – Consultant Nephrologist
Dr Allyson Egan – Consultant Nephrologist
Professor Mark Little - Consultant of Nephrology and Academic Chair Dr Brenda Griffin – Consultant Nephrologist
Dr Julio Chevarria – Consultant Nephrologist


Oonagh Smith Clinical Specialist Renal Dietitian - tel: 01 414 2363

Social Worker:

John Lennon 01 414 4915
Muireann O Sullivan  01 414 4917
Caroline Sherlock
Michael Carey

Renal Nursing

Haemodialysis Unit: Lisa Murphy/Robert Cox CNM2 01 414 2358/ 01 414 2350
Osborne Ward: 01 414 4000 Renal Home Therapies : Emer Kenny/Jen Young/Annamma Samuel 01 414 4001
Transplant Co-ordinator: Maura Looney  01 414 4004  Soniya 01 414 4975  Herrty 01 414 4943
Anaemia Co-ordinator: Maura Doyle CNM2/ Nestor/ Alpha 01 4142356/3642
Clinical Facilitator & Masters in Renal Specialist Nursing Programme co-ordinator: Olivia Doyle Renal Day Unit: Lorraine Doris CNM2 01 414 4044/2587

Administrative Contact for clinical matters: Nicola Warren Renal Dept, Tallaght University Hospital, Dublin 24                  Email: nicola.warren@tuh.ieTel: +353 1 414 2353 

Renal admin 01 414 2360/01 414 2440/ 01 414 4983