February 17, 2016
Patients requiring renal dialysis will soon have greater access to the life-sustaining care at Battlefords Union Hospital (BUH), thanks to expansion of the service to nine chairs, from six. Dialysis removes waste from the blood when a person's kidneys no longer function. Dialysis prevents a build-up of toxins that can be debilitating and ultimately fatal.
Beginning this summer, 12 more patients per week will be able to receive dialysis at the relocated and expanded BUH Renal Dialysis Satellite Unit. The service currently dialyzes 24 patients per week, each requiring dialysis three times per week. The expansion will raise the number of patients served to 36 per week – a 50% increase. The BUH Dialysis Unit is open six days per week Mondays through Saturdays.
“We are thrilled to be able to provide this vital service to greater numbers of patients,” said Pat McWatters, Nurse Manager of the Dialysis Unit. “For patients, it means access to the care they need closer to home, rather than having to travel to Saskatoon or other locations for dialysis.”
McWatters explained that the need for dialysis continues to grow in Prairie North, just as it does across Saskatchewan and across Canada. The wait list for dialysis service at the BUH unit has been at nine patients for many months. “Expansion of the program at BUH will dramatically reduce, if not eliminate, the current wait list, depending on the number of times each week each patient needs dialysis,” she stated.
The Ministry of Health has approved $600,000 in capital funding to accommodate the expanded program.
“Our government is committed to improving access to quality health services for the people of this province,” said Rural and Remote Health Minister Greg Ottenbreit. “Expansion of renal dialysis services at Battlefords Union Hospital will ensure patients in Prairie North Health Region receive the best possible care, in a timely manner.”
“Our patients and staff are very grateful to the Ministry and the Saskatchewan Chronic Kidney Disease Steering Committee for acknowledging the need and allowing us to expand the service for local and area residents,” said McWatters.
Planning for relocation of the BUH Renal Dialysis Satellite Unit to a larger space on the Third Floor Alcove of the hospital is underway. The Unit is currently located on Third Floor East.
3P Planning for new Dialysis space
Staff has been diligently planning for best use of the new space to accommodate the expanded program. A patient advisor is providing necessary input from the patient perspective. Construction is to begin in early April and be completed by July.
The dialysis unit at BUH has been in operation since December 2003. It began with six dialysis machines operating three days per week and serving 12 patients. Over the years, the unit and service has been expanded and upgraded to its current level.
The BUH dialysis service is a satellite of the Chronic Kidney Disease Program based in the Saskatoon Health Region (SHR) at St. Paul's Hospital in Saskatoon. The BUH service is under the medical direction of SHR's Renal Program that determines which patients receive dialysis at the BUH site. Renal dialysis patients at BUH must be stable enough to receive dialysis there.
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For more information or to arrange interviews, contact:
Linda Lewis, PNHR communications Officer