Red Deer Hospital calls back dialysis patients

June Norvila and her husband Paul are more than a little confused over Alberta Health Care’s announcement

June Norvila and her husband Paul are more than a little confused over Alberta Health Care’s announcement they can return to Red Deer Hospital for dialysis treatments.

The couple wonders what is going on after they received notification late last month Paul could return to the hospital and have his old chair back for treatments. Earlier, the couple had been told there was no room at the hospital and they would have to travel to Wetaskiwin for dialysis treatments.

“Paul was sitting in a chair in Wetaskiwin when we got the call that we would be going back. I don’t understand how things can change in two days,” Norvila said.

Paul Norvila was one of three dialysis patients who were told they would have to travel to other units, either in Wetaskiwin or Rocky Mountain House, to receive treatment.

An announcement that no one who received dialysis at the Red Deer Hospital would have to travel for treatment came on the heels of a 75-year-old Sylvan Lake woman’s refusal to drive to Rocky Mountain House for treatment.

“It does make you wonder why it couldn’t have happened before,” said Norvila.

The hour and a half drive to Wetaskiwin was taxing for both she and her husband and Norvila said she couldn’t handle it in the winter, but on the upside, she did note some positives.

“The staff were wonderful and there was free parking right in front of the door.”

And though she is grateful she no longer has to make the drive to Wetaskiwin, she remains uneasy about the future.

“There is no guarantees as to how long it is going to last.”

Alberta Health Services stated, in a press release April 25, additional dialysis capacity will be added in the short term at Red Deer Regional Hospital; a solution that has been in the works for several weeks. This additional capacity means that three Red Deer patients currently travelling for treatment will now receive dialysis in their community.

AHS is working hard to find a solution that will provide further dialysis capacity in Red Deer, the press release states.

There are 20 dialysis stations in Red Deer, operating from 7 a.m. to 11:15 p.m. six days a week. AHS currently has the capacity to treat 120 patients per week in Red Deer.

Other dialysis spaces in Central Zone included Wetaskiwin (12 spaces), Rocky Mountain House (six spaces), Stettler (six spaces), Vegreville (six spaces), Lloydminster (five spaces, Olds (six spaces) and Drayton Valley (four spaces).

Alberta Health Services is the provincial health authority responsible for planning and delivering health supports and services for more than four million adults and children living in Alberta. Its mission is to provide a patient-focused, quality health system that is accessible and sustainable for all Albertans.