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WKBRHD approves letter of support for Nelson-based renal hemodialysis

Timothy Schafer Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
By Timothy Schafer Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
February 25th, 2024

The region’s health district board of directors has approved a letter of support for a renal hemodialysis unit in Nelson.

Slated for upper levels of government — including Interior Health Authority (IHA), B.C. Premier David Eby and the Health Minister Adrian Dix — the West Kootenay Boundary Regional Health District (WKBRHD) board passed two motions at its Jan. 25 meeting, including the letter.

The board also directed WKBRHD staff to send a letter to the City of Nelson with details about the proposal to develop a volunteer support program to improve the delivery of home renal services, noted WKBRHD chief administrative officer Stuart Horn (also the CAO of the Regional District of Central Kootenay).

That second letter also encouraged the City “to work with local service organizations to recruit volunteers,” said Horn.

“Renal B.C. was at the (January) meeting to present the current status of services and the limitations they have in providing services in Nelson,” he said. “(But) the letters are not quite finalized.”

The first letter will be a straightforward ask for renal services at Kootenay Lake Hospital, while the “second letter will be a bit more exploratory with respect to roles of not only local government, but also volunteers,” he added.

Currently, nine people from the Nelson-Creston riding — six from Nelson and three from outlying areas — are forced to travel and pay the transportation costs to and from Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital (KBRH) in Trail, all year around.

As well as the financial burden of travel, people have to depend on friends, shuttle operators or family members, to wait at least four hours at KBRH while people obtain hemodialysis three times a week. All of the people from Nelson and the outlying regions relying on the service are seniors, are suffering from kidney failure and some have mobility issues.

At the Oct. 25, 2023 WKBRHD meeting, the Village of Kaslo sent a letter to the board in support of the establishment of renal dialysis service in Nelson. At the same meeting, Donna Jansons, Interior Health Renal Program director, spoke about renal services in the region.

Jansons provided an overview to the board regarding Interior Health renal services, as well as background regarding the complex relationship between Interior Heath and Renal B.C., sharing that the intent is on patient focused care.

“Interior Health is aware of the burden of care for dialysis patient when there is need to travel for treatment,” Jansons said in the minutes for the meeting.

She reviewed the difference between community dialysis units — which are smaller dialysis centres that cannot support everyone (complex cases) — and in-care units (at KBRH) which have wrap around services that can be provided for more compromised patients.

Janson said she had reached out to Renal B.C. to discuss the concerns of dialysis treatment in the region, and wanted to see collaboration between Interior Health, Renal B.C. and the board to work on solutions.

The board approved a motion to request the IHA provide to the WKBRHD board a report on the feasibility of providing dialysis treatment at the Kootenay Lake Hospital.

This post was syndicated from https://thenelsondaily.com
Categories: General

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