Welland, ON - Care that is closer to home and more convenient for their schedules are two of the many benefits dialysis patients and their families are eagerly anticipating as the Monday, June 2 opening approaches for the new Welland Hospital Auxiliary Dialysis Centre.
The Niagara Health System (NHS) officially opened the new Dialysis Centre at Welland Hospital Site this afternoon with a ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by guests and donors, followed by public tours of the bright, spacious unit.
The Welland Hospital Auxiliary Dialysis Centre, named for the Auxilians who have made a $1 million pledge towards the new unit, is the result of years of planning and one year of actual construction. The 12,500 sq. ft. centre will serve about 100 Welland and area chronic kidney disease patients who come for dialysis three to four times every week for treatments.
"Our patients have been receiving treatment in the temporary unit at Welland since late 2005, and we are delighted to be providing them with a larger space and more comforts than they had before," says NHS President and CEO Debbie Sevenpifer. "We know that the need for dialysis treatment will continue to increase in Niagara, and we are planning for the future needs of our patients."
The Welland Hospital Auxiliary Dialysis Centre, at a cost of $7.5 million, features 21 dialysis stations capable of treating 63 patients each day. The Centre has capacity for additional hook-ups for up to 26 dialysis stations.
"With the extra stations, we are able to provide dialysis treatment to additional Welland-area patients, who will no longer have to travel to Ontario Street Site in St. Catharines for their treatment," says Betty-Lou Souter, NHS Board Chair. "Our donors have made the new Dialysis Centre possible, and on behalf of the community we serve, I sincerely thank them."
Fundraising for the Dialysis Centre is part of the It's Our Time Campaign, the first region-wide health-care fundraising campaign to develop new facilities and improve all NHS hospital sites. The Niagara Health System Foundation is working in partnership with each of the local hospital foundations to raise $40 million.
The new Dialysis Centre is bright and airy, with large windows looking out onto landscaped areas. Each dialysis station now features flat screen televisions for patients who dialyze for four to six hours at each visit. A convenient drop-off and pick-up area is located directly outside the entrance doors to the new Centre, with dedicated parking nearby.
There are currently 17 stations operating in the temporary unit. It is open six days per week, operating from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily, and serves patients on three shifts each day.
"What makes this opening special is that we are opening an addition to our hospital services in the same year we celebrate giving the community of Welland 100 years of hospital service, so we're in the mood for a double celebration," Sevenpifer told guests. "Although we are here to celebrate the official opening of the 'bricks and mortars' of the dialysis centre, it is much more than that. This centre is more importantly about people – the patients and their families who can now receive care closer to home, and about our healthcare professionals, who make a tremendous difference in the lives of our patients and their families, day in and day out."
Fact Sheet - Backgrounder
Welland Hospital Auxiliary Dialysis Centre
- Construction of the larger permanent Dialysis Centre began in early summer 2007 and was completed on schedule in May 2008. The location provides easier patient access and additional on-site parking. The Dialysis Centre opens for patients June 2, 2008.
- At a cost of $7.5 million for Dialysis Centre construction and equipment, a major It's Our Time campaign fundraising effort is underway by the NHS Foundation and the Foundations of Welland, Port Colborne and Fort Erie hospitals. Fundraising is going towards construction as well as equipment costs. The Ministry of Health and Long Term Care is contributing $6.3 million.
- The Dialysis Centre has been named in honour of the Welland Hospital Auxiliary, which came forward early in the fundraising campaign with a $1 million lead gift towards construction and equipment purchases.
- The new Centre provides 21 dialysis stations, with expansion needs built in to grow as needed up to 26 dialysis stations. There are currently 17 stations operating in the portable unit. It is open six days per week, operating from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily, and serves patients on three shifts each day. The new unit will serve 65 patients per day from Welland and the surrounding area. There are app. 100 chronic kidney disease patients in the Welland area requiring hemodialysis.
The Facts About Chronic Kidney Disease
Healthy kidneys clean the blood by removing excess fluid, minerals and wastes. They also make hormones that keep bones strong and blood healthy. When kidneys fail, known as end stage renal disease, harmful wastes build up in the body, blood pressure may rise, and the body may retain excess fluid and not make enough red blood cells. Over time, kidney disease can cause problems such as heart disease, bone disease, arthritis, nerve damage, infertility and malnutrition. Treatment is needed to replace the work of the failed kidneys.
End Stage Renal Disease Treatment Options
Early detection and close observation are critical. Pre-renal clinics are dedicated to the assessment, medical management, treatment and support of patients with abnormal renal function. Dialysis is not a cure. The following treatment methods are used:
- Peritoneal Dialysis - This treatment uses the lining of the abdomen (called the peritoneal membrane) to act as an artificial kidney to filter blood.
- Hemodialysis - Cleans and filters blood using a machine to temporarily rid the body of harmful wastes and fluids.
Patients with kidney failure are now living longer than ever. Some patients in Niagara have been receiving hemodialysis treatment for more than 30 years. Early prevention, detection and transplantation remain the best option for patients with kidney disease.
Increase in Patients with Chronic Kidney Disease
- There are 77 dialysis stations at Welland Hospital, St. Catharines General and Ontario Street Sites serving 345 patients on dialysis in Niagara (98 patients dialyzing at Welland Hospital Site and 232 dialyzing at Ontario Street Site, with inpatients at St. Catharines General Site).
- These patients receive treatment on average three times per week with each treatment lasting four to six hours.
- The number of Niagara patients with chronic kidney disease is projected to increase to such a degree that the NHS is planning to expand the number of dialysis stations to 123 stations by 2013.
Dialysis services across the Niagara Region
Greater Niagara General Site in Niagara Falls is next on the list for expansion, with construction of a new Dialysis Unit currently being planned to open in 2010/11. By that time, the 92 stations at our sites will be distributed as follows:
- 53 stations – St. Catharines
- 15 stations – Niagara Falls
- 24 stations – Welland