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AHS expanding dialysis care at Drayton Valley Hospital

February 15, 2019

Service expansion enables more patients to access treatment locally

DRAYTON VALLEY– More local patients with chronic kidney disease will be able to access dialysis at the Drayton Valley Hospital and Care Centre, as the dialysis unit expands its hours to offer additional appointment times.

Dialysis will now be offered six days a week, up from three days a week, beginning Feb. 18.

The unit will continue to operate 6 a.m. to 6:15 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, with additional appointment times available from 6 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. The extra service hours will provide space for four additional patients from the Drayton Valley area to receive the care they need, closer to home. The unit currently provides treatment for eight patients.

“I’m so pleased we are increasing dialysis in Drayton Valley and helping more people receive this life-saving treatment closer to home,” says Minister of Health Sarah Hoffman. “This expansion is an example of our government’s work to strengthen public healthcare and to fight for the needs of patients and families in rural and northern communities.”

Hemodialysis is the process of cleansing the blood of toxins and excess fluid when normal kidney function is reduced. A patient’s blood is filtered through a dialyzer and returned to the body. Treatment, which can take four hours, is often required three times a week.

“We are continually monitoring and assessing the needs of dialysis patients across Alberta, including in the Drayton Valley 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 Alberta Health Services (AHS). “We are pleased to be opening these additional spaces in Drayton Valley and providing enhanced care and comfort for our patients.”

An aging population, rising diabetes rates leading to renal failure, and patients living longer on dialysis due to medical advancements are all factors contributing to increased demand for dialysis across the province.

“Creating additional capacity requires collaboration by multiple stakeholders, whom we would like to thank so that we’re able to accommodate our local patients,” says Janice Thompson, manager of the dialysis unit in Drayton Valley. “Receiving treatment close to home helps decrease the burden of travel and improves quality of life for our patients.”

Thompson adds that there will be no disruption in patient care as the service expands.

The dialysis unit at the Drayton Valley Hospital and Care Centre operates within AHS’ Alberta Kidney Care – North, formerly the Northern Alberta Renal Program.

Alberta Kidney Care – North provides assessment, treatment, and follow-up for people with kidney problems in a geographical area that includes central and northern Alberta, where more than 142,000 facility-based hemodialysis treatments were delivered last year.

The program also provides other treatments for kidney failure, including peritoneal dialysis, home hemodialysis and conservative care, which enables patients to enjoy the best quality of life possible without hemodialysis.

Alberta Kidney Care - North is also expanding dialysis services in Grande Prairie at the Queen Elizabeth II Hospital this month in order to provide care for six additional patients. And thanks to investments from the provincial government, new dialysis clinics have opened in Whitecourt, Hinton, Lac La Biche and Edson since the beginning of 2018.

Dialysis is offered in other communities within the Central Zone, including Red Deer, Wetaskiwin, Drumheller, Rocky Mountain House, Olds, Stettler, Vegreville and Lloydminster.

Home dialysis is also an option for patients who qualify for the service and Alberta Kidney Care works closely with patients to raise awareness about this care option.

Call Health Link at 811 for more information about Alberta Kidney Care services, including hemodialysis.

Alberta Health Services is the provincial health authority responsible for planning and delivering health supports and services for more than four million adults and children living in Alberta. Its mission is to provide a patient-focused, quality health system that is accessible and sustainable for all Albertans.

For media inquiries, contact:

Heather Kipling
AHS Communications