Kidney Foundation of Canada members Randy Spensley and Sharon Recalma stand beside Stacey Tomlinson, dialysis patient, Teresa Backx, kidney foundation director-at-large for the B.C. chapter, Francine Gosselin, Island Health social worker and Roy Walker, past-president, kidney foundation B.C. chapter, in front of the recently opened Kidney Condo, located in central Nanaimo. The two-bedroom housing unit provides free short-term accommodation for dialysis patients from out of town seeking home-based dialysis training. (Nicholas Pescod/NEWS BULLETIN)

Vancouver Island gets its first ‘Kidney Condo’

Nanaimo facility gives out-of-town dialysis patients place to stay while training for home treatment

Life has gotten a little bit easier for dialysis patients living in central and northern Vancouver Island.

A short-term accommodation for home dialysis patients dubbed the Kidney Condo has officially opened in Nanaimo’s Departure Bay neighbourhood. The two-bedroom unit will provide out-of-town kidney disease patients and their families a free and comfortable place to stay while receiving home-based dialysis training in Nanaimo. Once training is complete, patients can return home where they can continue dialysis.

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The Kidney Condo is a partnership project between the Vancouver Island Kidney Patients’ Association and the Kidney Foundation of British Columbia and Yukon. Costs of the Kidney Condo project were not disclosed.

On Aug. 21, the representatives from Kidney Foundation of Canada’s B.C.-Yukon chapter and the patients’ association were on hand for an official ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Roy Walker, past-president of the kidney foundation’s B.C. chapter, said called the opening “an important step” for improving quality of care for dialysis patients.

“It is important because it means Vancouver Island and Nanaimo is growing in terms of its importance in the health industry and within the Kidney Foundation,” he said.

Walker said the Kidney Condo is the first short-term accommodation for dialysis patients of its kind on the Island and the first time the organization has been involved in a home dialysis suite outside of Vancouver.

Francine Gosselin, a social worker with the home dialysis program, said patients from around the central and north Island often have to come to Nanaimo to receive dialysis treatment.

“There are no other clinics north of Nanaimo for patients to come and get the specialized dialysis training, support and follow up,” she said. “There are a lot of people who travel down from Port Hardy, Port McNeill, Port Alice, Powell River and they have to come for one to six weeks to do home dialysis training.”

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That amount of time away from home, said Gosselin, can be a costly expense for many families and added that the Kidney Condo will reduce the financial and mental burden placed on patients.

“At a time when patients are already facing a lot of other challenges in their life around health and potentially having to be off work and other financial hardships, it is really important to be able to offer something like this that will be able to ease one of the many burdens that they might be facing,” she said.

Stacey Tomlinson, a patient residing at the Kidney Condo, told the News Bulletin that she lives in Duncan and would have been required to commute to Nanaimo in order to receive dialysis training. She said being able to stay at short-term at a home free of charge has made her ordeal a little bit easier.

“I wouldn’t have been able to come up here for dialysis training or anything if I didn’t have it covered because I am on disability and I am already struggling, so this is such a blessing,” Tomlinson said.







nicholas.pescod@nanaimobulletin.com 
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