Dialysis expansion making a difference for Southwest patients

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Minister of Health Dustin Duncan discusses the hemodialysis treatment provided at the Cypress Regional Hospital with dialysis patient Dennis Roosen during the Health Minister's visit to Swift Current on Dec. 5.

There is currently no waiting list of dialysis patients awaiting treatment in the Southwest following the expansion of hemodialysis service at the Cypress Regional Hospital.

Previously limited to a dozen patients, each receiving three treatments a week, additional operational funding from the province has allowed the treatment space to expand to 18 patients and the dialysis unit at the hospital will eventually be providing 72 dialysis treatments a week.

Dustin Duncan, Minister of Health says the expansion was needed for the Cypress Health Region.

“Through the health region, as well as the local MLA, Premier Wall had heard from a number of people that they wanted to see the service being expanded here at the Cypress Regional Hospital to be able to provide the service closer to home for many people that were having to travel quite some distance several times a week to receive the service. We’ve been working really hard with the region to see how we could expand the service. The region has done a great job in allocating the existing space here, and adding the additional half days to be able to provide the service to additional people here who live within the Cypress Health Region," Duncan said during a visit to the hospital on Dec. 5.

“Keeping in mind the particular challenges around trying to deliver health care to people in rural Saskatchewan, the more that we can do to bring that service closer to home for them obviously speaks to a better patient experience, and as well, really puts the patient in mind in terms of some of the hardships that may be presented to a patient when the services aren’t necessarily close to home.”

Dennis Roosen has been receiving hemodialysis treatment since he had open-heart surgery in August, and he says the expansion is very helpful from a patient standpoint.

“Well, it’s really good, because I had to rely on my son and my daughter, and my wife, she drove too, but they all work so it was kind of tough there for a while. We finally got through it, and now we’re over here three days a week. It’s good that I don’t have to go back and forth to Regina. It’s been handy that way.”

Karen Wiens, Program Manager of the Renal Dialysis and Chemotherapy unit, noted that the expanded hemodialysis unit has been fully operational for over a month now.

“After the announcement of the expansion in June, that is when our plan started to come together. The goal was to have the expansion by the end of 2013. October 22nd was the first day of our increased services,” Wiens explained. “Prior to that, we were open Monday, Wednesday, and Friday full days. What the expansion consists of, is now we are open and staffed six days a week. Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays are half days. Today we are treating 18 patients, and that is our maximum that we can do right now. We are always looking at our wait lists and analyzing our wait lists, and right now we don’t have anybody on the list.”

“If it comes to a point where we recognize that there is an increased need, we could potentially increase those Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays to full days, and that would give us the opportunity to offer treatment to 24 patients.”

Wiens said that an increase in the use of the treatment is to be expected.

“I think the trend is showing the increase. I think that will be something we need to keep in the back of our minds, that there is always going to be an increased need for these kinds of services, especially in the rural communities.”

Organizations: Cypress Regional Hospital

Geographic location: Saskatchewan, Regina

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