Health PEI urging more Islanders to consider at-home kidney dialysis
'Many studies indicate that patients have a greater sense of quality of life'
Health PEI would like to double the number of patients who are managing their own kidney dialysis at home.
Currently, 16 Islanders have had the catheter implanted and have been given the training to do peritoneal dialysis.
This method of dialysis allows people to do their own blood-filtering procedure at home by removing waste from blood inside the body rather than having hemodialysis at a hospital — which cleans the blood in a machine outside the body.
- New peritoneal dialysis service 'historic step forward' for P.E.I.
- Some Charlottetown patients must travel to Summerside for dialysis
There is an increase number of people requiring services and we're certainly doing our very best to make sure that gets provided as close to home as possible.— Cheryl Banks
Cheryl Banks, the director of the provincial renal program, said the agency would like to see a quarter or a third of all Islanders who need dialysis to get it in the comfort of their own homes.
"Many studies indicate that patients have a greater sense of quality of life, they have more autonomy or independence, less dietary restrictions and overall they tend to do as well as those people on hemodialysis," she said.
"So we're really trying to promote that program."
117 on P.E.I. need dialysis
The at-home dialysis arrived to P.E.I. in January, 2016, after patients spent 40 years travelling between P.E.I. and Halifax to have a catheter inserted and receive days of training and followup care.
When the program was reintroduced to P.E.I. two years ago 13 Islanders were using peritoneal dialysis, but Banks would like to see the program grow to ease the pressure on hospitals across the province.
She said there are currently 115 chairs available for hemodialysis every week while there are 117 people needing treatment. She also said the number of people requiring dialysis is going up by about 10 per cent per year.
This slight outpacing of patients to seats is a big reason why Banks would like to see more Islanders take advantage of the at-home program.
To open up more seats at the hospitals, Health PEI wants to increase awareness of the program and Banks said there are a number of patients across the province that are eligible for at-home treatment.
"There is an increase number of people requiring services and we're certainly doing our very best to make sure that gets provided as close to home as possible," she said.
'The supplies can be shipped directly to the home'
To be eligible for at-home treatment, a Health PEI nurse will have to inspect a patient's home to see if they have running water, working electricity and the ability to store the supplies.
As well, the nurse will check the patient's physical condition and whether they can handle the equipment and treatment themselves.
"The equipment now to do peritoneal dialysis in the home is very, very advanced, actually there's a new piece of a equipment that's come out that talks patients through the steps to connect themselves," Banks said.
"The supplies can get shipped directly to the home, but it's more is the patient able to do it and is the home environment suitable to do that."
For more information about dialysis in the province, visit P.E.I.'s renal program website.
- MORE P.E.I. NEWS | P.E.I. unemployment rate hits 40-year low
- MORE P.E.I. NEWS | Maritime Electric back and forth with windstorm battle
With files from Laura Chapin