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Welcoming care closer to home

Jane St. dialysis unit will boost health care service

GOOD NEWS: The province and York Central Hospital announced plans recently to open a dialysis unit in Vaughan. Above, Dr. Bharat Nathoo, clinical director of York Central's Regional Chronic Kidney Disease Program. (Courtesy York Central Hospital)

Vaughanians living with chronic kidney disease will soon have access to life-sustaining dialysis treatment much closer to home.

The province and York Central Hospital recently announced plans to launch a new dialysis unit at 9401 Jane St. this fall. The unit, which will operate as a satellite of York Central’s current program, is set to open with a nephrology outpatient clinic and 24 renal dialysis stations. Another nine are planned by 2016.

“I’m just really, really happy and thrilled that this is happening,” Maple resident and dialysis patient Diane Cappello said last Monday from York Central in Richmond Hill. “It’s very big for Vaughan. We need it.”

Cappello commutes three times a week to York Central to receive treatment. Once the satellite unit is opened later this year, her travel time from home will be reduced to just three or four minutes, she said.

It’s a far cry from what her father had to deal with to receive dialysis treatment.

“He started off at the Wellesley Hospital (in Toronto) because we did not have any services here in Vaughan,” Cappello said. “My parents had to commute down to Wellesley Hospital three times a week and sometimes they didn’t get home till 2 o’clock in the morning.”

The York Region Dialysis Program was established at York Central in 1996 and has since grown with a satellite unit at the Oak Ridges Medical Centre.

The new Vaughan satellite is expected to cost more than $11 million, up to $8.24 million of which will come from the province’s Ministry of Health and Long Term Care. The Central Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) will provide one-time funding for dialysis-related furniture and equipment.

“I think it’s wonderful that the Ministry of Health and the LHINs are looking to get care into the community for patients closer to their homes,” said Barbara Gray, manager of York Central’s Chronic Kidney Disease Program.

The Vaughan satellite will be able to treat nearly 200 patients a year once it’s fully operational.

In York Central’s program alone, Gray said, between 60 and 100 patients would use the satellite. The rest would likely be patients currently receiving treatment at Humber River Regional Hospital or other hospitals farther afield.

“(Travelling) impacts their quality of life significantly,” Gray said. “If we can positively impact their quality of life, we’re going to positively impact the outcome for patients who actually require dialysis.”

Vaughan Today
In print: February 13, 2009, page 5
Online: February 16, 2009 [link]