Hemodialysis program expanded

By Rhonda Cooper

An expansion of the hemodialysis unit at the Battlefords Union Hospital, means more patients will be able to receive treatment closer to home. Starting today, Jan. 10, the unit will begin operating six days per week and serve 20 patients, of which one is from the Meadow Lake area.

“In late October we were asked by Saskatoon and the Ministry of Health if we could expand our program,” said Barb Jiricka, vice president of integrated health services for the Prairie North Health Region. “At that time we had seven people on our waiting list and the government was wanting to address the issue of wait time.”

North Battleford is a satellite centre affiliated with Saskatoon. Jiricka explained satellites are run by nursing staff who operate the equipment.

Jiricka noted the government ran a pilot project to establish home dialysis which met with some success in the Meadow Lake area, but due to water issues was not as successful in more northern communities.

“We are looking for a space that would be suitable within Meadow Lake to set up a community-based model,” said Jiricka.

It would still be set up like a home-dialysis unit where the patient assisted by one other person who could help with the machine would do self-dialysis. For this reason, space in the hospital is not desirable.

When the new Pioneer Lodge is constructed, Jiricka said that may be the most suitable location. But with that project still 18 months to two years away, Jiricka said the goal is to have one in the community before then.

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