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Patients get dialysis care from home

Ron Cooper is sitting on his home bed

Ron Cooper can now safely get dialysis treatments at home thanks to the training he received from The Ottawa Hospital’s Home Dialysis Program team.

The Home Dialysis Program at The Ottawa Hospital gives some patients the ability to receive their dialysis treatment at home.

Patients from Cornwall to Carleton Place have benefited from the Home Dialysis Program, which is part of one of the largest nephrology programs in North America.

Once enrolled in the program, patients receive one-on-one training on how to manage their condition from home and how to use any necessary equipment. After that, they are followed closely by a team of health-care professionals that can include nephrologists, nurses, dieticians and social workers from The Ottawa Hospital.

The result is convenient, effective care that fits patients’ schedules. Since patients can perform peritoneal or hemodialysis at home with their own personal dialysis machine, they don’t need to travel to the hospital for treatment.

“It’s about a patient-centered model of care”

Treatment schedules can be tailored to the patient’s lifestyle. For some patients, hemodialysis treatment during the night while sleeping can minimize disruptions during the day. For others, having a short daily treatment fits better within their schedule.

Indeed, choice is the hallmark of the Home Dialysis Program.

“It’s about a patient-centered model of care,” said Marie Casey, Clinical Manager for the Home Dialysis Program. “Our patients who have this option have chosen to undergo their treatment at home. and we provide them with the care and education to make that happen.”

At the moment, more than 220 patients are enrolled in the program.

One of those patients is retired police officer, Ron Cooper.  He recently attended the training sessions led by the Home Dialysis Program team.

“Everyone made me feel really welcome,” Ron said. “It was amazing.  The procedures were all well explained.  By the time I left on Thursday, I was very, very comfortable with the whole thing.”

“I don’t have to worry about carrying bags around. I think it will make me a little more free.” 

Ron will be putting that knowledge to good use when he sets himself up to receive dialysis at home. 

“The dialysis is done at night, so I have the ability to be spontaneous during the day.” he explained. “I don’t have to worry about carrying bags around. I think it will make me a little more free.” 

It takes a team of knowledgeable and dedicated staff to run the program. The team operates on a rotating schedule, spending four weeks in the clinic at the Riverside Campus leading patient and family clinics and teaching sessions. They then spend the next eight to ten weeks caring for patients in the patient’s home. The flexibility of the program means that staff are available for patient visits on weekends, evenings and holidays.

“I have nothing but compliments for the hospital staff.”

That kind of flexibility is great news for patients, but it can pose challenges for staff.

“When our nurses are out on the road, they work in isolation and it’s a challenge.” said Casey. “It’s a very independent form of nursing.”

Technology helps the team stay connected. Cell phones and laptops help nurses communicate with their peers while on the road.

Ron appreciates every single member of the team for their efforts.

“I have nothing but compliments for the hospital staff,” he said.  ”I felt like I was royally treated. They do an excellent job.”

In honour of Staff Appreciation Week, thank you to all the hard-working health-care professionals in the  Home Dialysis Program. You make a real difference in the lives of our patients. To all physicians, staff and volunteers at The Ottawa Hospital who provide world-class, compassionate care every day, thank you.


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