NKFH To Break Ground On New Community Resource In Kapolei

Groundbreaking Ceremony image

A new chapter in the journey of the National Kidney Foundation of Hawaii is scheduled to begin July 29, 2016 when the organization breaks ground for the new kidney resource center to be constructed in Kapolei.

Designed to help us combat the epidemic spread of kidney disease in Hawaii, the new resource center will increase our capacity to offer innovative programs to help individuals and families gain the resources they need to manage kidney disease.  It will also house the Senator Daniel K. Akaka Community Center, where local organizations will be invited to hold their own meetings in a place where community gatherings are encouraged and healthy lifestyles are emphasized as part of our mission to make kidney education available to everyone in Hawaii.

THE NEED IS GREAT Kapolei has been selected as the site for the new resource center in part because West Oahu has been underserved and because much of the projected growth on Oahu is expected to occur in and around Kapolei.  More than 40,0000 residents in the immediate area are suffering from kidney disease.  This community resource will make our services conveniently accessible to so many people

Chronic Kidney Disease has been growing at alarming rates throughout the United States.  In Hawaii, the prevalence of the disease is estimated to be approximately 30 percent worse than on the mainland.

End Stage Renal Disease, the final stage of kidney disease, has more than doubled in the last ten years and is expected to double again over the next ten years.  In fact, a recent report from Johns Hopkins shows that one in three people are at risk of developing kidney disease in their lifetime.

It is alarming to learn that most people in the early stages of this disease are not aware they have it.  Diabetes and hypertension are the biggest factors leading to kidney disease and kidney failure.  Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders, Asians, especially Filipinos and Japanese, and everyone older than 60 years-old regardless of ethnicity have up to four times the risk of having kidney disease.  The incidence of the disease Chinese and Korean populations is also expected to increase as western diets and lifestyles become routine.

In Hawaii more than 168,000 people have CKD and there are another 100,000 who are at risk.  Approximately 450 people are on the organ waiting list and more than 90 percent of those people are waiting for kidney transplants.  Sadly, the majority of people with CKD will die before having the opportunity to be placed on dialysis or receive a kidney transplant.

It is shocking to think that close to 30 percent of our nation's Medicare budget is spent on kidney and kidney-related diseases.  Imagine how dramatic the impact would be if those healthcare costs could be slashed drastically through early detection and prevention!

Clearly, untold suffering will continue and the economic and personal costs of the disease will become an even greater burden in Hawaii if this incurrable disease is allowed to progress at current rates.

AWARENESS/PREVENTION/TREATMENT  "We must do more, service more, and help more early." says retired Senator Daniel K. Akaka.  "Kidney disease is a medical disaster that is crippling our country, state and Hawaiian communities."

We are ready to open the door to a healthier Hawaii.  We are primed to lead the charge and expand our outreach in kidney disease awareness, screening, detection and education.  However, our current office space is at capacity, preventing us from fulfilling the growing needs of the community.  Without a larger facility in close proximity to the residents who most need our services, more people will suffer or lose their lives needlessly to kidney disease.

A COMPREHENSIVE DESIGN National Kidney Foundation of Hawaii's programs are structured around the five stages of CKD.  Education and early detection programs are designed around stages 1-3, when most patients are unaware that they have the disease.  Patient services, support groups and mentoring programs help people at stages 4 and 5, including those on dialysis.  Youth programs and transplant awareness programs educate the general public.

BUILDING THE DREAM Our newest initiative is to work with primary care physicians (PCPs) to help them improve the identification and detection of CKD with enriching the healthcare experience for patients and providers who deal with chronic diseases like diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.

We serve PCP patients with nutrition information, cooking help, disease management training, and related non-medical services that help patients follow their doctor's advice.  The intent is to improve patient outcomes by keeping patients from declining toward endstage renal disease and the need for even more specialized medical care by providing lifestyle guidance and by helping PCPs more effectively interact with their chronic disease patients.

By slowing or stopping the rates by which patients need costly dialysis treatments and preventing premature death, NKFH is leading the way to better health for people who have kidney disease, reducing the financial impact of the end-stages of CKD, and educating the public at large, many of whom are at risk to get the disease.  The new Kapolei community resource center is critical to the success of the mission.

"The idea behind the new facility will not be just offices or a headquarters, but to have an impact on peoples' lives," says Glen Hayashida, President and CEO of NKFH.  "In the early days the most we could do was raise awareness; now what we really want to do is change their lives and change the course of the disease by working directly with people who have chronic kidney disease.  We're going to have a teaching kitchen, a fitness area and we're really going to get side by side with people who have kidney disease."

The July 29 ground breaking is symbolic of advances to come.  It is also a measure of the generosity and commitment of government, community nonprofits, businesses and individuals who have contributed generously to the capital campaign, "Building a Dream, Journey to a Cure" with the knowledge that their efforts are making a meaningful difference in the lives of many people and the health of communities.

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