B.C. kidney patients take treatment into their own hands

B.C. kidney patients take treatment into their own hands

By Pamela Fayreman, Vancouver SunFebruary 9, 2009

VANCOUVER — Kidney disease patients who want to get night time dialysis, but aren’t set up at home for it, are now being enrolled in a pilot study at Vancouver General Hospital (VGH) in which patients take over their care but have a nurse and technician on hand in case they encounter a serious problem.
The project is said to be Canada’s first independent in-hospital nocturnal dialysis program.
The first four to eight patients to take part in the pilot will go to VGH three nights a week, from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. They will be taught how to manage all aspects of their dialysis treatment, including ordering supplies, setting up machines and drawing their own blood work.
They will be using machines and space that would otherwise be sitting idle, after day time patients leave.
Dr. Michael Copland, medical director of the provincial independent hemodialysis program, said there are nearly 1,800 people in B.C. who get their dialysis done during the day time at hospitals or community clinics while there are nearly 800 doing dialysis at home. Many more people would like the home option, but cannot for reasons such as poor family support or strife, unstable tenancy, and the inability to renovate to accommodate the needed electrical and plumbing modifications.
“For those people, we don’t want to make a complicated situation even worse,” he said.
Patients must go through six weeks of training before they can self-administer their own treatments at home or hospital. The $46,000 pilot project at VGH will end March 31. Copland said if the assessment is positive, he expects the program will expand so that 16 patients each week use the hospital overnight.
The purpose of dialysis is to remove toxins from the blood system of those with failing kidneys.
Jared Provost, a 29-year-old White Rock resident, said he is taking advantage of the VGH program because he found that maintaining the dialysis equipment at home was getting to be too time consuming and arduous.
While it’s been a little challenging getting used to not sleeping in his own bed (beside his wife), Provost, who has renal disease as a result of congenital kidney disease, likes the fact that he doesn’t have to worry about the frequent equipment cleaning.
“Now I can just go in, hook up for the night and go home in the morning,” said Provost, who works as a hair stylist at Steveston Barbers.
Sun Health Issues Reporter

Hi Pamela

Seriously hoping that you will do a follow up on this extremely important program.

I will certainly be very interested in the outcome of the assessment. Actually Pamela, and without a doubt, I see the results of the assessment as being nothing but positive.

Richard St Amour
Sudbury Ontario
would go along ways if this reporter was to get more e-mails…so that she’ll know that a follow up is important