May 22, 2018
Story & Photo by Amy Crofts
EDSON — Town and regional residents now have access to life-saving service hemodialysis services closer to home at Edson Healthcare Centre.
“I wish you could have seen my face when I first saw it,” says dialysis patient Donna Barrass. “I couldn’t stop smiling.”
Barrass and other renal patients previously had to travel up to three times a week to Alberta Health Services (AHS) facilities in Whitecourt or Hinton, about 100 km away.
“I’m so grateful for the bus, but the new clinic here at the hospital is much better,” she says. “It’s bright, cheery and a lot more comfortable. It’s wonderful.”
Renal patients from local and surrounding communities — from the hamlet of Wildwood to the east to the hamlet of Robb to the southwest — now are eligible to dialyze in Edson.
The new three-station clinic, which can be expanded to six stations, opened to patients on Feb. 14, followed by a community celebration on March 16.
“Patients from Edson and surrounding communities can stay close to home and their families instead of facing long hours on the road for such a vital service,” says Minister of Health Sarah Hoffman.
“This new permanent dialysis clinic includes enough stations to meet current demand but it also has room to expand as needs increase. I’m proud to be part of a government that’s making life better in rural communities by protecting their healthcare needs.”
The new space provides privacy and comfort for those who need it. Patients can bring family and friends to keep them company while they undergo the hours-long procedures close to home.
Lana Hataley, Director of Clinical Operations, AHS North Zone, says this level of service takes time and expertise to provide locally, especially in a smaller, rural community.
“Having adequate space is only one component of the necessary resources to support safe care,” she says.
“Thanks to the efforts of the community and healthcare centre staff — including the AHS Northern Alberta Renal Program — we are pleased to be able to offer this to our Edson and area patients. We appreciate everyone’s efforts in bringing this project to fruition.”
Barrass appreciates those efforts, and adds: “It’s already made such a big difference. Thank you to the amazing staff here for caring for us, day in and day out.”