Patients on Vancouver Island who have end-stage kidney disease and require dialysis therapy as a means of life support often face the decision of either travelling to Nanaimo three times per week for the rest of their lives, relocating to another community where there is a community dialysis unit, or exploring a home-based dialysis option. Traveling or relocating for dialysis can have many negative impacts, including additional costs, changes to independence, travel burden, loss of community, and/or conflicting work schedules. This is especially significant for patients living in rural communities, for whom traveling and finding accommodations can pose significant financial impact. For patients who wish to manage their life-sustaining dialysis treatments at home, specialized training and follow up in Nanaimo is required. Patients considering home dialysis can face significant travel and financial barriers to getting the training they need to successfully achieve their goal.
The NRGH Home Dialysis Unit, in partnership with Vancouver Island Kidney Patients Foundation (VIKPA) and the Kidney Foundation of Canada – BC / Yukon, set out to remove those barriers. The team knew that if they could secure temporary housing close to the hospital for patients traveling to Nanaimo for training, it could significantly reduce the stress on patients who are already going through so much.
The team launched a Nanaimo Kidney Condo “Your Way Home” initiative in August 2019. The Kidney Condo is a fully furnished 2-bedroom suite that patients and support people travelling to Nanaimo for dialysis training can stay in for free. The initiative has been enormously successful. Between August 2019 and December 2020, 30 unique patients had made 43 condo bookings for a total of 179 overnight stays.
Patients immediately benefited from the Kidney Condo, and often leave glowing reviews:
- “Dialysing at home just would not have been an option for me without the condo being available – thanks so much – it’s changed my life.”
- “To have a quiet, comfortable place to stay was life-saving for my visit here. Thank you for your generous spirit.”
- “Staying in the Kidney Condo has really reduced our stress and worry during this challenging time – thank you.”
After overwhelmingly positive feedback from patients and their families, the contract for the condo was renewed for 2021 and the team intends to continue the project on a permanent basis. This empowering experience will continue improving the quality of life for patients, as well as their financial, social and psychological well-being, for years to come.