Kidney Society

Frequently Asked Questions

We hope the following answers to the most commonly asked question will help. If not, contact us by clicking here.

Where are you based?

We are based in Auckland but our team support clients from Taupo in the south, Hawkes Bay in the east and north to Kaitaia.

How much of each dollar goes into client services?

Almost $7 out of every $10 we spend goes directly into supporting our clients. Plus we have a target of raising at least $4 for every dollar we spend on fundraising.

How much money do you have to raise annually?

Our annual budget is around $800,000 but we are always looking at ways in which we can generate more sustainable income so we can meet the growing demand for service and support.

How many patients/clients do you support?

Close to 3000 families.

Are your services free or do clients have to pay?

Our services are free.

Why doesn't the hospital provide these services?

The job of the health service is to look after patients’ medical care. Kidney Society services are quite different- our staff do not need to focus on health problems and treatments; they can concentrate on supporting the patients with kidney conditions and their families to live their best possible lives. Our services complement those provided by the hospitals and we provide the “extras” that go beyond immediate health needs. We have a very good working relationship with hospital medical and social work staff and between us we offer a range of services that neither the hospital nor the Kidney Society could deliver on their own.

How long has the Society been around?

The Society started as a social club for patients called “Kidney Kapers” in the late 1970’s. The Society itself has been around since 1980.

Are you the same as Kidney Kids?

No, Kidney Kids is a support organisation for families who have a child with kidney problems, including a small number of children with kidney failure. Kidney Society supports people with serious kidney conditions, many of whom may soon need dialysis or a kidney transplant. We are also there for whanau and families of people living with kidney disease. Kidney Kids and the Kidney Society have complementary roles and we work together from time to time but we are independent from each other in every way.

Are you part of Kidney Health New Zealand?

No, Kidney Health NZ and all local and regional kidney patient societies in New Zealand are independent from each other, although they all work together for the benefit of people with kidney disease. They have complementary roles but do different things. Patient societies concentrate on local patient support while Kidney Health Kidney Health NZ is a national organisation supporting kidney patients and their families by way of education, advocacy and research across all areas of kidney health – including organ donation and transplant, dialysis, early detection and prevention of chronic kidney disease.

We have close links with Kidney Health NZ and are represented on their Board.

What is the waiting time for a transplant and how does the waiting list works?

A successful kidney transplant is often a life-changing event, especially for someone who has been on dialysis treatment for some time. After a detailed assessment some (but not all) patients are placed on the transplant waiting list. This list is not a “first come, first served” kind of list as there are many factors that influence how quickly a transplant might take place. For more information on having a transplant please click here.

What does it cost to have dialysis at home?

Most treatment, including home dialysis, is free. Patients do have to pay for things like some medications and home haemodialysis patients usually also pay for the extra power and water needed to run the machine and to keep them warm during dialysis. Some District Health Boards contribute some money to the cost of power and water.

Home dialysis patients also need to pay for their own transport to and from hospital appointments, parking etc. while patients who dialyse in hospital units three times a week have some or all of their travel to and from dialysis paid for by the health service. These costs can add up and especially for people who do not qualify for income support this can be a problem. However, there are many benefits of doing dialysis at home that for many people outweigh the extra cost.

Isn't diabetes the main cause of kidney disease and doesn't it affect mostly Māori and Pacific people?

It is, close to 50% of people with advanced kidney disease have it as a result of diabetes. However, genetics also plays a factor so this condition can and does strike anyone, of any background, race or age.

For every patient with kidney disease as a result of diabetes there is another whose condition is caused by poorly controlled high blood pressure or one of many kidney diseases including nephritis, inherited conditions, Lupus, kidney stones and repeated kidney infections. Māori make up around 26% of all Kidney Society clients, Pacifica 22%, European 33% and all others 19%.

Kidney disease is progressive and may exist for 10 to 20 years without obvious symptoms before it may lead to the need for dialysis. Awareness and prevention campaigns today cannot undo the damage done to many of our patients’ kidneys in the past. However, educating their families/whanau about preventing diabetes is something all or families and the general public should do.

Why is diabetes a problem after kidney transplantation?

There are several reasons why diabetes can be a problem after a transplant. If someone has diabetes before a transplant, when they are on dialysis, it’s very unusual for the diabetes to go away. Indeed, it often gets harder to control. Some of the drugs given to keep the transplant working – the anti-rejection drugs – can cause diabetes as a side effect. These drugs are important in transplantation and therefore, even if one of these drugs causes diabetes, it is not caused by their transplant.