A Planned Gift Helps Guelph Patients Receive Kidney Care Close to Home

A Planned Gift Helps Guelph Patients Receive Kidney Care Close to Home

A Planned Gift Helps Guelph Patients Receive Kidney Care Close to Home

When you spend three days at the hospital every week receiving hours of treatment, being able to access care close to home is especially important. The completion of a long awaited space renovation at the Guelph satellite dialysis unit means this is now the reality for more kidney care patients in the Guelph-Wellington community. Thanks, in part, to a generous supporter who left a substantial gift to the Guelph satellite dialysis unit in their will, 18 additional patients can now receive dialysis closer to home.

Staff at the Guelph dialysis unit renovation celebration listen to the program director speak

Staff listen to a speech by James Bellamy, Director, Renal Program & ORN Regional Director at the Guelph dialysis unit renovation celebration

Kidneys are the body’s filtration system, and when the kidneys begin to fail, dialysis helps patients by cleaning their blood and removing potentially harmful waste, water and chemicals. When dialysis services aren’t available locally, patients must travel to and from the nearest dialysis unit, adding hours of travel time to their already lengthy days of treatment — not to mention the financial burden of related expenses like the cost of gas and higher car insurance rates.

The three new dialysis stations added to the unit mean additional access to dialysis services in Guelph that will save each of these 18 patients approximately six hours in travel time every week. Prior to the unit’s renovation, these kidney care patients would have had to travel all the way to Kitchener to Grand River Hospital’s Kitchener-Waterloo Campus because a treatment station would not have been available for them at the Guelph satellite unit.

“The time and cost savings for these patients is very significant,” said Heidi Ziegler, Clinical Manager, Regional Renal Program, Grand River Hospital. “Being closer to home provides them [with] a little more of their own personal time, which may help some people maintain their current employment or usual daily activities … The time saved over many future years has a significant impact on their quality of life.”

Many don’t realize that dialysis is a long-term and typically ongoing treatment, so spaces for new patients at dialysis units, especially smaller units and those with limited capacities, don’t become available very often. Unless a patient is a candidate for a kidney transplant, dialysis patients will require treatment for the rest of their lives, and even those who are transplant candidates may spend months or years on dialysis waiting for a suitable donor kidney to become available. It’s why expanding access to local dialysis services is critical, and as the home of the Waterloo Wellington Regional Renal Program, it is also an important part of Grand River’s vision for a world class health system supporting healthier lives.

Two doctors cut the ribbon at the unveiling of the Guelph dialysis unit renovation celebration

James Bellamy, Director, Renal Program & ORN Regional Director (left) and Dr. Gerald Rosenstein, Chief of Nephrology (right) cut the ribbon at the grand opening of the isolation room at the Guelph satellite dialysis unit

In addition to more dialysis stations that will allow us to treat more patients locally, the renovation of the Guelph satellite unit also saw the addition of an isolation room. Receiving regular dialysis is critical — dialysis patients can’t just skip treatment and stay home when they are sick. Isolation rooms are used to allow sick patients to receive their treatment without putting other dialysis patients at risk. But if a dialysis unit doesn’t have an isolation room, sick patients then have to be transferred to a unit or centre where isolation rooms are available. For patients in the Guelph-Wellington community, this meant travelling to the main dialysis unit at the Kitchener-Waterloo Campus, adding a long commute for patients who already weren’t feeling well. The new isolation room at the Guelph satellite unit will largely eliminate the need to transfer patients to the main campus for treatment when they are sick, leading to a better patient experience, improving their quality of life and making it easier for local friends, family or supports to offer help, such as driving them to and from the dialysis unit while they are ill. 

A common saying among kidney care patients is that attending dialysis is like having a part-time job that they don’t get paid for. While we can’t control a patient’s need for dialysis, our goal is to invest in infrastructure, programs and service delivery models that will change the future of kidney care for the better by giving patients more flexibility, autonomy and a better quality of life. And we hope you will join us in pursuit of this vision.

Leaving a gift in your Will today is a way you can create an exceptional tomorrow for the people of our communities. Used to support essential care equipment, specialized research and learning opportunities, innovative programs and patient experience initiatives, a planned gift will have a profound and lasting impact on generations to come. If you’re local to Guelph, you can also volunteer your time at the Guelph satellite dialysis unit, helping patients and staff as a Grand Welcome Volunteer.

To learn about all of the ways you have the power to shape the future of care, visit careneverstops.ca.