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‘It allows me to live where I want to live’: Government breaks ground on Kentville dialysis unit

Dr. Steven Soroka, senior medical director for the Nova Scotia Health Authority renal program, left,  Health and Wellness Minister Randy Delorey, Paula Bond, from the Nova Scotia Health Authority and Keith Irving, MLA for Kings South, officially break ground on a new dialysis unit in Kentville Aug. 10.
Dr. Steven Soroka, senior medical director for the Nova Scotia Health Authority renal program, left, Health and Wellness Minister Randy Delorey, Paula Bond, from the Nova Scotia Health Authority and Keith Irving, MLA for Kings South, officially break ground on a new dialysis unit in Kentville Aug. 10. - Chris Saulnier

KENTVILLE, NS - For Peter Best, breaking ground on the new dialysis unit in Kentville means freedom.

The 55-year-old has been getting regular dialysis treatment for the past six years, and for three of those years he’s had to travel to Halifax for treatment.

Originally from Kentville, Best had to move to Kingston to be closer to the Berwick dialysis unit. This new unit in Kentville will eventually allow Best to live closer to his own community again, he says.

“It means a lot,” said Best. “It allows me to live where I want to live.”

The Aug. 10 groundbreaking ceremony kicked off construction of the new 12-station unit at Valley Regional Hospital in Kentville, which is expected to be completed by winter 2020. The Kentville unit will replace the existing six-station unit at Western kings Memorial Health Centre in Berwick and doubles capacity – it will be able to serve twice as many patients in the run of a week, 48 compared to the current 24.

“There’s currently about 14 people waiting to come to the Berwick unit, and because we can only accommodate 24 patients, they have to wait for someone to be transplanted or something so the spot becomes available,” said Dr. Steven Soroka, senior medical director for the Nova Scotia Health Authority renal program. “If we open up 12 spots, we’ll be able to completely get rid of that wait list.”

Peter Best, left, Tom Bourgeois and Crystal Farrell are all dialysis patients happy to hear the good news that the new unit will allow more patients to get the treatment they need without having to travel outside of the Annapolis Valley.
Peter Best, left, Tom Bourgeois and Crystal Farrell are all dialysis patients happy to hear the good news that the new unit will allow more patients to get the treatment they need without having to travel outside of the Annapolis Valley.

 

READ MORE:

Summer construction date possible for new Kentville dialysis unit

‘The only way I’m going to get better is to get a transplant’: New Minas dialysis patient Tome Bourgeois shares his story

• ‘Not a priority’: Hants County dialysis patients seek treatment closer to home

Soroka also explained that having the new unit at the Kentville hospital adds a lot of benefits for patient care.

“The lab is here, the diagnostic imaging is here, so all that stuff they would need can all be done within this facility. Right now, where Berwick is, they have to take the bloodwork and send it into the lab here,” said Soroka.

The new unit is also meant to reduce travel for some patients, particularly those with more complex medical conditions who may have to travel to Halifax for treatment.

“Dialysis patients often make multiple trips for treatment each week,” said Delorey. “This new unit will allow many Annapolis Valley patients with more complex medical conditions to be treated closer to home.”

Tom Bourgeois, 72, who says he’s had his transplant for 25 years, says that while he’s lucky to currently receive dialysis in Berwick after having to travel to Halifax for nine months, his thoughts are with those still waiting to get their own treatment there.

“I care for the people who are waiting to get in, that’s the thing, there are a lot of families waiting,” said Bourgeois.

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