Home dialysis program gets support
A home dialysis program in Alberta is moving forward with the help of Strathmore Town council.
The council was approached by a citizen who requires home dialysis to consider a program to help with the costs of water.
Home hemodialysis programs are setup for patients who require dialysis as part of their treatment. Many patients require dialysis multiple times a week. Dialysis is not available in Strathmore, so patients who live in the community must travel back and forth to Calgary for treatment, making the treatment very onerous both physically and financially.
Dialysis at home increases the amount of time an individual would spend with their families, thereby increasing their quality of life and also increasing their life expectancy.
Town council voted to instruct administration to develop a grant program for home dialysis patients to offset the increased water costs associated with home dialysis and council will send a letter to the Minister of Health encouraging the province to cover all associated costs of home hemodialysis.
Council also voted to have town administration prepare a presentation to AUMA and send a copy of the presentation to the local MLA with the aim of promoting the issue to the province of Alberta.
Depending on the equipment and length of treatment the cost of water could be up to $700 per year.
Hemodialysis equipment is provided to patients from Alberta Health Services to conduct home hemodialysis. The equipment uses water while operating and treating the patient. If the dialysis treatment was taken at the hospital, the hospital would cover the cost of the water used.
“Mr. Howe is not the first one that I had heard about that was involved in hemodialysis and suffering the effects of having to drive many, many miles a year and sometimes at great personal cost and wear and tear on health,” said councillor Denise Peterson.
She explained that after doing her own research through the Sunridge Clinic and University of Calgary research website, the amount of water used was surprising.
“The amount of water was amazing to see because it has to be hooked into the actual sewer system as the patient is on hemodialysis for up to 8 hours, is my understanding.
“My information is the maximum number of people we have had on hemodialysis at any given time in this community as they understand was five, and not all of them had it in their homes because their water systems in their homes would not accommodate the system,” she said.
“I don’t believe that this is something that would cause undo strain to the town, but it certainly would give recognition to the province that it is an issue that communities understand,” she said.
Peterson spoke about a similar issue in Alberta several years ago when type 1 diabetes treatment cost were not partially covered.
“They equated this to the same thing that happened with type 1 diabetes and how initially so much of the costs weren’t covered and some still aren’t and so creating real hardship for families,” she said. “That urging from the province it amounted to a few pennies per person, but alleviated great suffering among the population that really needed the cost,” said Peterson.
“We have had these discussions with the Handi Bus Association too. Our Handi Bus is constantly running back and forth to Calgary for a lot of these issues that if we had them in Strathmore it would sure relieves a lot of costs that way too,” explained councillor Rocky Blokland,
“I am 110 per cent behind this. If you look at our water park that services many, many hundreds of kids over the summer I can’t remember what the water bill is at that park, but it’s up there,” he said. “I am fully behind that water park too. I think this is something that is really good for Strathmore if we can increase the quality of life and also increase life expectancy for a mere $700, or $800 for a homeowner, there’s no question here,” he said.