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DCI's New Home Therapies Medical Director Focuses on Early Intervention, Education & Partnerships
By: Dialysis Clinic, Inc.
Dr. Salenger, former medical director of Rubin Dialysis Center in Clifton Park, transitioned out of private practice in upstate New York to accept the Home Therapies Medical Director role based in the DCI corporate office in Nashville, Tennessee.
Drawing on 21 years of experience, Dr. Salenger enters her new role with a clear focus and brief agenda.
"One of the most important measures we can take in terms of controlling this rising epidemic is to first recognize the problem," explained Salenger. "Identify which people need to be screened for kidney disease. Mass screening of a population is not cost effective, but identifying the segments of the population that are at increased risk, those with a family history of kidney disease and the African-American community that has a more rapid progression to ESRD, should be screened earlier and more often."
In order to increase screenings, Salenger says that the medical community must focus on education and partnerships.
"We must educate the primary care physician and subspecialists to recognize who is at risk and also demonstrate the importance for an early referral to a nephrologist,"
One of Salenger's goals as a practicing nephrologist in New York was to get orthopedic patients screened for hypertension. "The orthopedists see young to middle- aged men who may have undetected hypertension. Simply taking a blood pressure reading may help identify uncontrolled hypertension in a population known for avoiding doctor visits."
Salenger has also seen the impact of young adult women referred from their gynecologist. During a urinalysis a gynecologist can pick up on proteinuria. "My practice would get referrals to work up patients with protein in their urine who were otherwise healthy, young women. We have to work as a medical community that understands the earlier the referral, the better chance we have for intervention,"
Salenger admits that many nephrology fellows receive limited training on home dialysis options. "One of the reasons the home dialysis patient population is low, even this day and age, is because fellows don't get training in home hemodialysis. Nephrologists don't get the training and they are afraid of it."
As the DCI Home Therapies Medical Director, Dr. Salenger plans to increase the number of patients on home dialysis and improve the quality of home therapy training offered to nurses and physicians.
The newest addition to DCI's medical director team adds, "You will hear me say the physician is the spark for home dialysis and nurses are the engine. People don't know about these options. We've got to get out there and educate the public and doctors!"
True to the DCI mission, Dr. Salenger's efforts are ultimately focused on improving patient care.
"We can offer patients the opportunity to manage their dialysis, instead of dialysis managing them. We can adjust schedules so patients can lead a holistic life. The goal is to provide safe treatments that allow patients to live as normal a life as they can."
To learn more about dialysis treatment options, visit http://www.dciinc.org/