New hemodialysis unit replaces “antiquated” facilities
Greater privacy and comfort for patients in new treatment area
A large, modern and unified hemodialysis unit swings into operation at the Jewish General Hospital this fall, replacing the pair of cramped and outdated facilities that patients and staff have endured for years.
Located in the space that used to house the Emergency Department in Pavilion D, the fully renovated Sandra and Steven Mintz Nephrology Centre features spacious hemodialysis stations with enhanced privacy, up-to-date isolation areas, an upgraded water filtration system, a dedicated pick-up and drop-off area, offices for staff, and rooms for family meetings, staff conferences and training.
The number of hemodialysis stations remains unchanged at 37, says Dr. Mark Lipman, JGH Chief of Nephrology, but space has been set aside for an additional 10 stations that can accommodate up to 60 more patients. “We felt we had to plan for what we believe will be an inevitable need to expand,” he adds.
The launch of the hemodialysis unit in mid-September is the first phase of a two-part project that Dr. Lipman hopes will conclude in early 2017 with the entire Division of Nephrology relocating to the new space.
Even though funds have not yet been raised to cover the entire $8.8 million construction cost, the launch was given a green light because of the urgent need to move out of the old facilities, which Dr. Lipman describes as “antiquated and dilapidated.” The province has contributed $2.8 million, leaving $6 million to come from private donors. A number of generous gifts have already been made through the JGH Foundation, but about $3.5 million in private funds must still be raised.
Here are some of the most notable improvements in the new hemodialysis unit in the Sandra and Steven Mintz Nephrology Centre:
- Space and comfort: The roominess of each hemodialysis station ensures greater privacy and enables staff to complete their tasks more easily. To help patients pass the time, each station is equipped with a smart TV that has internet access.
- Isolation: Four large isolation rooms, for the exclusive use of the Division of Nephrology, are reserved for patients who must be isolated—due to the presence of infections such as C. difficile, MRSA and VRE—while they undergo hemodialysis.
- Unified services: Previously, the unavoidable split of hemodialysis services between Pavilions G and H contributed to inefficiency, scheduling problems and difficulties in communicating. With all services now under one roof, these problems will be a thing of the past.
- Blood tests: Installation of a pneumatic tube system allows blood specimens to be sent quickly for testing to a JGH lab. A member of Nephrology staff no longer needs to take the time to transport the specimens in person.
- Security: Conditions are safer for patients who finish a late-night hemodialysis session and are waiting to be picked up by a relative, taxi or paratransit. The treatment and pick-up areas are now next to each other, and the Division of Nephrology has its own ground-floor entrance, which opens onto the small parking area on Côte Sainte-Catherine Road, just east of Légaré Street.
For more information or to donate to this vital initiative, please contact the JGH Foundation online or call 514-340-8251.
The original hemodialysis unit, with 18 stations, opened on the second floor of Pavilion G in 1991, followed in 2007 by a 12-station unit on the ground floor of Pavilion H that later grew to 19 stations. Together, they can serve as many as 222 patients; the actual number being treated as of mid-August was 218. In total, the new Nephrology Centre covers roughly 28,000 square feet, nearly twice the area of all of the older facilities in both locations.
The need for comfort and convenience is essential, says Dr. Lipman, because the typical hemodialysis patient must visit the hospital for three four-hour treatments per week. This means that staffing schedules must be carefully planned to allow for a morning, afternoon and evening shift every day, Monday through Saturday. The hemodialysis unit is closed on Sundays, but remains open at all other times, including statutory holidays. If members of staff make an exception and decide to close on a certain day, such as Christmas Day, the unit must be opened on Sunday of that week to make up the missed sessions.
“This upgrade has been a long time coming and it’s greatly needed,” says Dr. Lipman. “I’m thrilled that we’re going to be able to give patients the services they require in an environment that will satisfy their medical needs, and give them the comfort and emotional support that are crucial to their treatment.”