Dialysis service is being extended at the Peace River Community Health Centre.
Patients with chronic kidney disease can now have more days for appointments starting Sept. 3, says a news release from Alberta Health Services dated Aug. 29.
Dialysis shifts are now available on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday afternoons.
The extra service hours will provide space for four additional patients to receive the care they need, three times a week, closer to home.
“I’m glad to see this expansion, that puts patients first and provides more access to dialysis so they can stay in their community near family and supports,” Health Minister Tyler Shandro says.
“The Government of Alberta will continue to invest in strengthening publicly funded health care across the province.”
The dialysis unit’s new hours of operation are 6:45 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday to Saturday.
Available dialysis treatment spots increase from 12 patients per week to 16 patients per week.
“We are continually monitoring and assessing the needs of dialysis patients across Alberta, including in the Peace River area, and we understand the importance of receiving care and treatment as close to home and to loved ones as possible,” says Dr. Verna Yiu, president and CEO of AHS.
“We are pleased to be opening these additional spaces in Peace River and providing enhanced care and comfort for our patients.”
Currently 1,520 patients on dialysis are served in Alberta Kidney Care North, a geographical area that includes central and northern Alberta.
An aging population, rising rates of diabetes and hypertension leading to renal failure, and patients living longer on dialysis due to medical advancements are all factors contributing to increased demand for dialysis, says Sandi Vanderzee, executive director of Alberta Kidney Care North.
“The demand for dialysis continues to increase and spots are currently at a premium,” says Vanderzee.
“By creating this additional capacity in Peace River, we’re able to increase access and serve more patients closer to home.”
For patients such as Judith Hill, the extended hours are welcome news, as is the ability to schedule treatments in the afternoon three more days during the week.
“This service expansion is very important for both myself and our community. Not only will this help meet community healthcare needs, it will allow more patients to receive dialysis closer to their family and home,” says Hill.
“With more afternoon treatment times available, it takes into account that patients have busy lives and it offers us more choice.”
Alberta Kidney Care North expanded dialysis services earlier this year at the Northern Lights Regional Health Centre in Fort McMurray, Queen Elizabeth II Hospital in Grande Prairie, as well as at Drayton Valley Hospital, in order to provide care for additional patients.
Dialysis is offered in other North Zone communities, including Edson, Hinton, Fort McMurray, Slave Lake, St. Paul, Whitecourt and Lac La Biche.