Those shackled by the problem of chronic liver disease have good news: Dialysis will now be offered an additional four hours per day, three days a week at the Wetaskiwin hospital. File photo

AHS expanding dialysis care at Wetaskiwin Hospital

Service expansion enables more patients to access treatment locally

  • Jan. 21, 2020 6:45 a.m.

More local patients with chronic kidney disease will be able to access dialysis at the Wetaskiwin Hospital and Care Centre, as the satellite hemodialysis unit expands its hours to offer additional appointment times.

Dialysis will now be offered an additional four hours per day, three days a week, bringing the operating hours of the unit to 7 a.m. to 11:15 p.m. Monday to Saturday. The expanded hours went into effect last month.

The extra service hours have provided space for nine additional patients from the Wetaskiwin area to receive the care they need closer to home.

“I’m very pleased more patients from the Wetaskiwin area will have access to critical kidney care in their community,” says Tyler Shandro, Alberta’s Minister of Health. “Thank you to Alberta Health Services and all the staff involved for expanding the hours of the dialysis clinic and being so responsive to local needs so fewer patients have to travel away from family and home to get this life-saving care. This work strengthens our public health system and puts the needs of patients front and centre.”

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, which can take four hours, is often required three times a week.

“We understand the importance and benefits of receiving care and treatment as close to home as possible,” says Dr. Verna Yiu, President and CEO of Alberta Health Services (AHS). “AHS is continually monitoring and assessing the needs of dialysis patients across the province, and we are pleased to be offering these additional spaces in Wetaskiwin and providing enhanced care for our patients.”

Dialysis is offered in other communities within AHS Central Zone, including Red Deer, Drayton Valley, Drumheller, Rocky Mountain House, Olds, Stettler, Vegreville and Lloydminster.

An aging population, rising diabetes rates leading to renal failure, and patients living longer on dialysis due to medical advancements are all factors contributing to increased demand for dialysis across the province.

“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,” says Tracy Delorme, Patient Care Manager with Alberta Kidney Care-North (formerly the Northern Alberta Renal Program). “We are very grateful to all the stakeholders involved in making this expansion possible.”

Alberta Kidney Care-North provides assessment, treatment, and followup for people with kidney problems in a geographical area that includes central and northern Alberta, where more than 142,000 facility-based hemodialysis treatments were delivered last year.

The program also provides other treatments for kidney failure, including peritoneal dialysis, home hemodialysis, and conservative care, which enables patients who may not tolerate dialysis to enjoy the best quality of life possible without hemodialysis.

For more information about Alberta Kidney Care services, including hemodialysis, call Health Link at 811.

Alberta Health Services is the provincial health authority responsible for planning and delivering health supports and services for more than four million adults and children living in Alberta. Its mission is to provide a patient-focused, quality health system that is accessible and sustainable for all Albertans.

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