Wetaskiwin Hospital and Health Care Centre will now be able to help more patients with chronic kidney disease access dialysis care as the hemodialysis unit expands its hours to offer additional appointment times.
More than $400,000 in annual funding has been allocated to the expansion. This funding will enable the local hemodialysis unit to accommodate 72 patients, up from 63.
Hemodialysis is the process of cleansing the blood of toxins and excess fluid when normal kidney function is reduced. A patient’s blood is filtered through a dialyzer and returned to the body.
Treatment can take up to four hours and is often required three times a week.
“This is welcome news for my constituents with renal disease,” says Rick Wilson, MLA for Maskwacis-Wetaskiwin. “Dialysis is a difficult and demanding treatment so I am grateful that Alberta Health Services (AHS) is finding ways to ensure the people who need it do not have to be burdened with travel outside of the local area.”
Demand for dialysis has been steady and every patient previously on the waitlist for local dialysis treatment is now being accommodated.
Dialysis will now be offered six days a week with three separate therapy sessions—morning, afternoon and evening, that can accommodate nine additional patients from the Wetaskiwin area.
For patients like Bill Hurd who has been on dialysis for nine years, says the expansion is welcome news. He currently attends the unit in Wetaskiwin three times a week, after previously having to travel to Red Deer.
“Anytime you can get care close to home, it is a good thing,” says Hurd. “I was fortunate I didn’t have to travel for long, and it is nice to know others won’t have to travel now as well. It is a great unit here. The staff are excellent.”
Dialysis is offered in other communities within the AHS Central Zone including Red Deer, Drayton Valley, Drumheller, Rocky Mountain House, Olds, Stettler, Vegreville and Lloydminster.
“We understand the importance and benefits of receiving care and treatment as close to home as possible,” says Janice Stewart, Chief Zone Officer, AHS Central Zone.
“We know that travelling for medical needs can be a burden to patients and their families. Receiving treatment close to home improves quality of life for our patients and AHS is continually monitoring and assessing the needs of dialysis patients across the province. We are pleased to be offering these additional spaces in Wetaskiwin.”