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New Renal Dialysis Facility

News Release - Residents of southeast Saskatchewan are receiving renal dialysis closer to home.

Health Minister Don McMorris today officially opened the Sun Country Health Region's new dialysis satellite service at St. Joseph's Hospital in Estevan. It operates three days per week, serving about a dozen patients from the area who previously had to travel to Regina for treatment.

"Our government recognizes that the need for dialysis is growing in Saskatchewan," McMorris said. "We are putting patients first by ensuring that wherever possible, these services are available closer to home. This service will help residents of Sun Country Health Region better manage their disease and improve their quality of life."

Sun Country Health Region CEO Cal Tant said the benefits to individuals of removing the trip to Regina three times a week cannot be overstated.

"This unit fulfils one of our mission statements - to provide optimum health for the individual throughout their lifespan," McMorris said. "I'd like to thank the staff of St. Joseph's Hospital and Sun Country Health Region who worked diligently to plan, develop, construct and operate this high-tech health care facility."

Estevan's site is the eighth satellite site in the province. The others are in Prince Albert, Lloydminster, Swift Current, Yorkton, North Battleford, Moose Jaw and Tisdale. Dialysis units in Saskatoon and Regina serve about 75 per cent of Saskatchewan's hemodialysis patients, and act as the home units for the satellite sites.

"The need for dialysis continues to grow," Medical Director of the Regina home unit and the southern satellites Dr. Cam Wilson said. "Estevan's new unit will not only make it easier for patients to receive services, but it will support Regina's dialysis centre by reducing the number of patients it serves."

Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure. Renal dialysis is one form of kidney replacement therapy which removes waste from the blood by simulating natural kidney function. Dialysis prevents a build up of toxins that can be debilitating and ultimately fatal.

The Ministry of Health supports population health initiatives that will promote the positive benefits of healthy lifestyles in preventing Type 2 diabetes. About 1,200 patients with various stages of chronic kidney disease attend Chronic Renal Insufficiency (CRI) clinics. The CRI program operates as an inter-disciplinary approach to chronic kidney disease care, to delay or prevent the need for dialysis or transplant.

It costs between $40,000 and $50,000 per year to provide renal dialysis to one patient. It is also very important for people to consider organ donation and discuss it with family members, as many patients prefer kidney transplantation to dialysis treatment options.

Media: For more information, please call Cal Tant, CEO, Sun Country Regional Health Authority at 842-8738

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