Province expands dialysis services in Brandon

A new provincial program expansion allows area residents with kidney failure to perform regular dialysis treatments at their own homes.

Patients requiring dialysis services will have greater accessibility in the Brandon area after the province’s Health, Seniors and Active Living Minister announced an expansion of home dialysis training and support in the city on Monday.

The Manitoba government has set aside $500,000 a year to support an initiative to develop a home peritoneal dialysis program, which was launched this fall. The program will initially serve up to a dozen patients living with kidney failure and other issues.

article continues below

Using a machine at night or several times a day, peritoneal dialysis cycles a solution into and out of the stomach through a tube to remove waste and fluid from the body.

Meanwhile, a home hemodialysis program – which removes, cleans and returns blood to the body – will launch in 2019 and serve up to six patients. Training will be provided to both patients and family members wanting to perform the treatment at home.

“Providing more options for dialysis closer to home will allow Brandon and Westman-area residents to manage their own care without having to travel or temporarily relocate to Winnipeg for home training and support,” said Health, Seniors and Active Living Minister Cameron Friesen. “Receiving services closer to home is a cornerstone of our government’s approach to improving Manitoba’s health system, and this significant measure will benefit patients in the region in a variety of ways.”

Prairie Mountain Health chief executive officer Penny Gilson said the Brandon Regional Health Centre has provided hemodialysis services for more than three decades and the expansion runs parallel with the health region’s own dialysis service enhancement initiatives.

“We are now very pleased to be in a position to offer all three renal therapies through the Brandon unit,” she said.

Brandon contains the only facility operating seven days a week and the only site outside of Winnipeg with kidney specialists on staff.

Currently, Manitoba has more than 1700 patients with kidney failure receiving dialysis treatment. Of those, 385 receive their services at home. Another 5500 people are being treated for stages one to five of chronic kidney disease.

“There are many benefits for patients who are able to receive dialysis at home, including more independence, less travel, fewer hospitalizations, less exposure to infection and fewer dietary restrictions,” Manitoba Renal Program medical director Dr. Mauro Verrelli said.

“It’s a way for people to live with kidney failure, stay out of the hospital, and remain within their communities and at home with their families.

The same day Brandon’s dialysis service expansion was announced, Premier Brian Pallister was in Dauphin, Man. unveiling a new magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanner in that community.

That city’s new MRI machine is expected to perform about 3500 scans a year, reducing the number of inter-facility transfers for patients who previously would have been sent to Brandon, Winnipeg or elsewhere for service.

According to the provincial government, average wait times for MRIs have seen a 30 per cent improvement – or a drop from 24 weeks to 16 – since July, 2017. The new scanner in Dauphin, which is located near the Dauphin Regional Health Centre’s existing diagnostic imaging department, is expected to further improve this statistic.

© Copyright Westman Journal