More resources will improve access to dialysis treatment and specialists

Minister Robert Henderson and Dr. Derek Chaudhary, PEI Renal Program Medical Director, discuss benefits of additional staffing resources and expanded hours of service to Islanders receiving dialysis treatment and those living with chronic kidney disease

Islanders living with chronic kidney disease will soon benefit from more resources and better access to dialysis treatment and specialists at the renal clinic, says Minister of Health and Wellness Robert Henderson.

This week, Health PEI introduced an evening shift that will enhance capacity for nine additional patients at the Charlottetown Hemodialysis Unit located at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. Five patients currently traveling to Summerside will be able to receive treatment closer to home as a result of the new evening shift.

New staff have been hired and trained to support the expansion, including two registered nurses, an LPN, a support worker and environment services staff.

“By hiring additional staff, expanding programs and increasing clinic hours, our aim is to improve access to hemodialysis services and improve the quality of life for those Islanders undergoing treatment,” said Minister Henderson. “Our focus is on putting the patients first and connecting them with quality services in the community and in our health care system.”

For the Provincial Renal Program, additional staff are also being hired, including a renal nurse practitioner, dietician, social worker, and pharmacist. The renal nurse practitioner will work with the program’s two nephrologists to support Islanders living with chronic kidney disease. 

To further support the 13 Islanders currently receiving peritoneal dialysis, two community-based renal nurses are being hired. One will support those living in Prince County, and the other will support patients living in Queens and Kings Counties.

"Over the last few years we have experienced sustained growth and an increased need to provide renal care to Islanders,” said Dr. Derek Chaudhary, PEI Renal Program Medical Director. “We have been working closely with health care providers and government to expand renal care on Prince Edward Island for Islanders living with chronic kidney disease and kidney failure.

Dr. Chaudhary added that the addition of a peritoneal dialysis program and support for post-kidney transplant patients on PEI; growth within the hemodialysis program; and, ensuring the Renal Clinic is easily accessible for those not yet ready for treatment – but in need of clinical support and monitoring –have been important areas of focus. “The addition of health care providers to our program will ensure patients receive better access to life-sustaining care and improved outcomes.”

There are currently 104 Islanders are receiving hemodialysis treatment at one of four locations across the province – 65 at the Charlottetown Hemodialsysis Unit (QEH), 21 at the Summerside Hemodialysis Unit (PCH), 11 at the Souris Dialysis Unit (Souris Hospital), and 7 at the Alberton Dialysis Unit (Western Hospital).

For more information, visit the PEI Renal Program

About Chronic Kidney Disease:
Chronic kidney disease, also called chronic kidney failure, is the gradual loss of kidney function. Chronic kidney disease occurs when a disease or condition impairs kidney function, causing kidney damage to worsen over several months or years. Risk factors for chronic kidney disease include diabetes (Type 1 or 2), high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, smoking, obesity, family history, abnormal kidney structure and age to name a few.
Provincial Renal Program Expansion:
A series of provincial government investments have been made since 2011 to modernize and expand the Provincial Renal Program, including:

• a peritoneal dialysis program for PEI and on-Island support for post-kidney transplant patients were established in 2016;

• a $750,000 expansion and renovation of the Souris Dialysis Unit was completed in 2015 (this included the purchase of a state of the art water filtration system);

• the Provincial Renal Program offices were co-located at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital and two nephrologists were hired, as well as specialized renal nurses, dieticians and social workers; and,

• a new $2.7 million hemodialysis unit for Summerside was constructed at Prince County Hospital in 2011 and another at the QEH in 2012.

Media contact:
Amanda Hamel
 Health PEI
(902) 894-2534

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