Doris Wreford makes the trip from her home near Canwood to Prince Albert’s Victoria Hospital three times each week. It takes close to an hour each way, which is in addition to the three-plus hours she spends in the dialysis unit for each treatment.
Having to make extra trips to Saskatoon for a test that only takes 10 minutes added additional burden, even if it was only a few times a year.
“Driving is a little bit exhausting, and after you have had dialysis it can be more difficult. It may seem like you are just lying here, but it is hard on your body. You feel the effects of having dialysis,” says Doris, who is herself a retired nurse and is usually driving herself to appointments.
Now, thanks to the support of the Victoria Hospital Foundation’s Annual Doctor’s Gala, Doris and dozens of other patients will no longer have to travel to Saskatoon for that simple test; it can now be run at the same time as their dialysis in Prince Albert once a month, thanks to a new piece of equipment purchased earlier this year.
The recently-purchased Transonic machine measures blood flow through a patient’s vascular access during dialysis. A vascular access is considered to be a hemodialysis patient’s “lifeline” as it is a necessity in the provision of hemodialysis.
Doris Wreford is among the dozens of patients who can now have a simple test done more frequently in their home dialysis unit at the Victoria Hospital in Prince Albert. Prior to the purchase of the Transonic machine earlier this year, patients would have to make special trips to Saskatoon for a 10-minute test.
The Transonic will allow patients to receive regular measurements that will help detect vascular-access-related problems that can increase demand on the patient’s heart or cause their dialysis treatments to be less effective. As a result, it will help to extend the life of the patient’s vascular access, which can extend their life while on dialysis.
The Transonic machine measures blood flow through a patient’s vascular access during dialysis. A vascular access is considered to be a hemodialysis patient’s “lifeline” as it is a necessity in the provision of hemodialysis.
The Victoria Hospital’s renal dialysis unit provides about 180 treatments each week for more than 60 patients. There are 30 patients receiving treatments six days per week. About half of those patients are able to utilize the Transonic machine.
“More than half our patients come from outside of Prince Albert, and some travel hundreds of kilometres each day,” says Elona Mathies, Nursing Unit Manager for Outpatient Services at the Victoria Hospital. “In the past, patients would need to travel to Saskatoon to receive Transonic monitoring so this is wonderful to be able to do more frequent monitoring in their home unit.”
Doris agrees that having the ability to monitor more frequently is also good for patients such as her, as the nurses will be able to tell more quickly if there are any complications with blood flow that would reduce the effectiveness of dialysis. It is reassuring for her to have the test available, and to know that the dialysis treatments are as effective as possible.
“No matter where you live, it makes a difference to have this test available where you are already going,” Doris says.