More dialysis capacity coming

One or two extra dialysis stations at a minimum will be added to the dialysis unit at the Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre over the coming weeks, according to a top official with Alberta Health Services.

One or two extra dialysis stations at a minimum will be added to the dialysis unit at the Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre over the coming weeks, according to a top official with Alberta Health Services.

Three Red Deer dialysis patients had been left with little choice except to travel to outlying units in Rocky Mountain House and Wetaskiwin over the past month as the Red Deer unit has been operating over capacity for some time.

AHS announced late last week that no one would have to continue to travel for treatment.

The demand for dialysis in the unit ebbs and flows, said Kerry Bales, chief zone officer for the Cental Zone with AHS, and the demand is slightly down again at the moment.

“Those three people were asked to move because we didn’t have the capacity at the time. … It was a matter of timing; we had been working to get those pieces in place before we exceeded capacity. … It’s a challenge … but it was already underway to have those people come back to Red Deer before the news release came out,” Bales said.

He couldn’t comment on how many more chairs exactly would be added to increase the capacity but said it would be “one or two minimally.”

He said they are confident that those pieces will be in place to handle the demand when it spikes again in the short term.

Bales said there will not be a “significant cost” to the immediate plans for added capacity, noting however there will have to be some work done to make sure the chairs and water system are accommodated but “we’re not talking about major renovations to do this.”

Dialysis removes waste from the blood of patients who have lost kidney function, by passing it through a machine as the patient sits in a chair. It takes four hours and is typically required three times a week.

There are 20 chairs or stations in Red Deer’s unit, allowing 120 people to dialyze per week.

AHS is working on immediate, short-term and long-term planning for the dialysis unit in Red Deer, Bales said.

“In the immediate, we’re putting in some capacity so if the demand exceeds what the current unit is able to do, we’ll have the option and capacity to provide some renal dialysis somewhere in the hospital on inpatient units.”

Bales said he does not anticipate any patients having to travel outside of the city for the treatment again.

Staffing will be impacted, Bales said, as more nursing hours will likely have to be provided.

“This doesn’t necessarily mean adding staff; it could mean existing staff working more hours or sharing staff among other programs,” he said.

They are also looking at solutions connected to changes in the scheduling for dialysis patients, extending the hours of the unit and possibly doing more intensive renovations to expand the space.

Bales said he hopes to have an answer as to what the longer term decision is before the beginning of summer.

rfrancoeur@bprda.wpengine.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Red Deer Public Schools says that in the absence of additional funds from the provincial government, there was no consideration of using alternate classroom sites in the district. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
Red Deer Public Schools launches online engagement process

Red Deer Public schools is seeking community input to help ensure a… Continue reading

Red Deer Rebels defenceman Mason Ward battles with a Medicine Hat Tigers’ forward during the WHL Central Division season opener. (Photo by Rob Wallator/ Red Deer Rebels)
Tigers come back to spoil Red Deer Rebels home opener

It’s been nearly 345 days since the Red Deer Rebels last played… Continue reading

Students walk into Hunting Hills High School, which is one of the Red Deer Public Schools with solar panels on its roof. (Photo by SEAN MCINTOSH/Advocate staff)
Red Deer high school was placed in lockdown following potential threat

Hunting Hills High School was placed in a lockdown Friday after Red… Continue reading

Red Deer Mayor Tara Veer says some details of the provincial government’s 2021-22 budget need to be ‘sorted out’ when it comes to the hospital expansion funding. (File photo by Advocate staff)
More detail needed regarding hospital funding, says Red Deer mayor

Red Deer Mayor Tara Veer says some information is unclear regarding the… Continue reading

Alberta Health reported two new COVID-19 deaths in Red Deer Friday. (Image courtesy CDC)
Two more deaths linked to Olymel outbreak in Red Deer

Province reported 356 additional COVID-19 cases Friday

An arrest by Red Deer RCMP is facing online scrutiny. No charges have been laid and the incident is still under investigation. (Screenshot of YouTube video)
Red Deer RCMP investigating violent arrest caught on video

Police say officer ‘acted within the scope of his duties’

Runner Melissa Bishop-Nriagu speaks to the media at the opening news conference at the Canadian Track and Field Championships Thursday, July 25, 2019 in Montreal.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Canadian athletes struggling to find competition as they try to qualify for Tokyo

Canadian athletes struggling to find competition as they try to qualify for Tokyo

New York Red Bulls midfielder Jared Stroud, right, vies for the ball against Toronto FC midfielder Jonathan Osorio during an MLS soccer match in Harrison, NJ., Sunday, Nov. 8, 2020. Entering his ninth season with Toronto FC, Jonathan Osorio said his off-season regimen was no different than in the past. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Eduardo Munoz Alvarez
Veteran TFC midfielder Jonathan Osorio looks to take it to the next level this season

Veteran TFC midfielder Jonathan Osorio looks to take it to the next level this season

Powell, Lowry help depleted Raptors beat Rockets

Powell, Lowry help depleted Raptors beat Rockets

Edmonton Oilers goalie Mikko Koskinen (19) makes the save on Toronto Maple Leafs' Zach Hyman (11) as Tyson Barrie (22) defends during third period NHL action in Edmonton, Saturday, Jan. 30, 2021. Toronto continues to lead the North Division standings, but hard-charging Edmonton is now just four points back on the all-Canadian circuit heading into a three-game series between the teams in Alberta's capital beginning Saturday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Maple Leafs, Oilers set for key three-game series atop North Division

Maple Leafs, Oilers set for key three-game series atop North Division

Angela James stands on centre ice in front of the Toronto Maple Leafs team after being inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame before Toronto Maple Leafs and Buffalo Sabres NHL hockey action in Toronto on Saturday November 6, 2010. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
Hall of Famers James, Lowe, Hay named to Order of Hockey in Canada

Hall of Famers James, Lowe, Hay named to Order of Hockey in Canada

Toronto Raptors head coach Nick Nurse talks to center Aron Baynes (46) and guard Norman Powell (24) during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Philadelphia 76ers Sunday, Feb. 21, 2021, in Tampa, Fla. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Chris O'Meara
Nurse, five Raptors assistants sidelined to due COVID-19 health and safety protocols

Nurse, five Raptors assistants sidelined to due COVID-19 health and safety protocols

Team Ontario skip Rachel Homan, centre, makes a shot against Team Wild Card 1 as second Sarah Wilkes, left, and lead Joanne Courtney sweep at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Calgary, Alta., Friday, Feb. 26, 2021. Ontario's Rachel Homan kicked off play in the championship pool Friday with a 7-6 victory over Chelsea Carey of Team Wild Card One at the Canadian women's curling playdowns. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Homan and Einarson improve to 8-1 at Canadian women’s curling championship

Homan and Einarson improve to 8-1 at Canadian women’s curling championship

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau rises during question period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
New vaccine brings optimism amid rising threat of variants, high case counts

New vaccine brings optimism amid rising threat of variants, high case counts

Most Read