Cumberland Dialysis facility gets upgrade

Kidney patients get good news with opening of Cumberland dialysis upgrade

Gary Pollock addresses the crowd with Comox Valley MLA Don McRae and Health Minister Michael de Jong looking on.

Gary Pollock addresses the crowd with Comox Valley MLA Don McRae and Health Minister Michael de Jong looking on.

Kidney patient Gary Pollock of Campbell River feels the newly-renovated Cumberland Community Dialysis Facility is more patient-friendly and a more pleasant working environment than the old building.

“Our previous building was really outdated, and our needs here were great,” he said during a grand opening celebration for the expanded facility on June 6.

North Island residents living with chronic kidney failure have improved access to hemodialysis now that the $2.25-million project to expand the outpatient Cumberland Community Dialysis Facility is complete. The expansion project includes a 370-square-metre addition to the existing building. The facility can now accommodate up to 12 dialysis stations, double the six stations prior to the expansion.

Currently, nine stations are operating, and there is capacity to add three more stations as demand grows.

Dialysis support space at the facility, including the nurses’ station, has also been improved.

Funding for the expansion was provided by the Ministry of Health and the BC Renal Agency.

The Vancouver Island Health Authority (VIHA) staffs and operates the facility, and the annual operating cost of $1.27 million is shared by VIHA and the BC Renal Agency, according to a news release.

About 38 kidney patients undergo hemodialysis — a procedure that cleans the blood by removing waste products and excess water, which the patient’s kidneys can no longer do — at the Community Dialysis Facility each week, according to the news release. Patients generally need three hemodialysis treatments each week to survive, and each treatment takes four hours.

The Community Dialysis Facility serves patients from Qualicum Beach north, including Texada, Hornby and Cortes islands, Campbell River and Mt. Waddington, according to the release.

The expansion was planned for the future in mind because VIHA is seeing increasing numbers of patients with renal disease, noted Dr. Bob Burns, executive medical director for VIHA Renal Services.

— Comox Valley Record