First community-based dialysis facility opens in Edmonton

December 21, 2020

EDMONTON — University of Alberta Hospital outpatient dialysis patients can now access dialysis services outside the hospital with the opening of Alberta Kidney Care - North’s first community dialysis facility.

West Edmonton Kidney Care, a University of Alberta Hospital Community Facility, began offering dialysis on Nov. 30. Patients were moved to the new facility in phases, with final group starting treatment there Dec. 14. The facility has capacity for 210 patients to dialyze during the day and into the evening.

“Our patients generally receive treatment three times a week, four hours each time. This is a tremendous burden for our patients,” says Dr. Branko Braam, section chief for nephrology in the Edmonton Zone of Alberta Health Services (AHS). “A hospital environment designed for highly specialized care is not the best place for outpatient dialysis treatment. Transitioning the University of Alberta Hospital outpatient dialysis unit into the community helps our renal team provide enhanced patient care in a more comfortable environment.”

The new facility features 30 personal dialysis pods, allowing more privacy and enhanced isolation precautions for patients to receive care. Each pod features in-ceiling heating, a personal television, and access to free Wi-Fi. Free parking is available for all patients.

Shirley Stevenson, 79, is one of the 126 dialysis patients transferring from the University of Alberta Hospital outpatient unit to the new West Edmonton Kidney Care. She has been dialyzing for three years and was happy to transfer to community care.

“I like the individual pods and the privacy we get here; it’s a lot quieter,” says Stevenson. “Now I can just get out of the car and walk in. It is a lot more convenient and there is free parking. Plus, all of the same nurses are coming with us, which made the transition to the new space a lot easier.”

Acute renal failure causes the kidneys to lose their ability to filter and remove waste and extra fluid from the body. During dialysis, a patient’s blood is slowly pumped from the body into the dialyzer, where waste products and extra fluid are removed. The filtered blood is then pumped back into the body. Once people begin dialysis treatments, they are usually on some form of dialysis for the rest of their lives, unless they have a successful kidney transplant.

Alberta Kidney Care – North serves more than 1,100 dialysis patients at local facilities, including West Edmonton Kidney Care, in addition to 450 home dialysis patients.

The $11.4-million West Edmonton Kidney Care project was supported by the government’s Infrastructure Maintenance Program, including $2.125 million from the University Hospital Foundation.  The support of the Foundation was instrumental in creating the comfortable and private patient pods, including new dialysis machines and chairs.

“The University Hospital Foundation is committed to improving the health of Albertans, including supporting care in the community through initiatives like the West Edmonton Kidney Care facility and the home hemodialysis program through Alberta Kidney Care – North,” says University Hospital Foundation President and CEO Dr. Jodi L. Abbott. “With the support of our donors, we are helping patients receive the critical care they need in a more convenient and comfortable way, improving their quality of life.”

The University Hospital Foundation raises and manages funds to advance patient care, research and healthcare education at the University of Alberta Hospital, the Mazankowski Alberta Heart Institute and the Kaye Edmonton Clinic.

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.