Dialysis patients get glimpse of future

Posted: Tuesday, September 09, 2003

Kenai Peninsula residents needing treatment for kidney disease will have a treat Wednesday when a new program begins that could bring monthly treatment closer to home. Specialists from the Renal Care Group in Anchorage will be at Central Peninsula General Hospital to visit kidney patients who are participating the home dialysis program.

"It's a work in progress," said operations director Jean Stevens. "We're looking to try and see if we can do this on a monthly basis."

The Nashville, Tenn.-based Renal Care Group has offices in Anchorage and Fairbanks that serve the more than 200 Alaska residents who need dialysis to compensate for their kidney's inability to filter impurities and poisons from their blood.

Many of their clients are on home dialysis machines and visit one of the two clinics from once a month to once every three months for periodic physician checks. This can become expensive for those living in outlying areas.

"What we've been working on this past year, is to set up a program where nurses go out to visit patients who would normally come to An-chorage," Stevens said. "We were thinking with the number or people that we have in Kenai, and because we can drive there, we can set up a program every month."

There are between 10 and 15 known dialysis patients on the peninsula, and more may exist, speculated hospital CEO David Gilbreath.

A dietitian and a home dialysis manager from the Renal Care Group will be at the Soldotna hospital Wednesday around noon to see some patients, before going out to visit others at their homes. The visit entails a review of the patient's lab work and a general checkup to ensure the patient isn't having any trouble.

For more information or to learn how to take part in the home dialysis program, call Bonnie Nichols at Central Peninsula General Hos-pital at 714-4500 or call the Renal Care Group in Anchorage at (888) 414-3149, extension 226.

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