Garry Sorley

Regional Renal Program

With 291 staff, LHSC’s Regional Renal Program cares for nearly 1,700 patients across southwestern Ontario with varying degrees of renal failure. This includes helping to slow the progression of chronic renal failure, and when required, providing renal replacement therapies that include peritoneal dialysis, hemodialysis, kidney transplant or palliative care.

The Regional Renal Program offers hemodialysis treatment at a 35-station unit at Victoria Hospital and a 25-station unit at University Hospital. Each provides care to acute, inpatient and chronic patients. In spring 2012, the new 24-station Kidney Care Centre at Westmount Mall will open, serving chronic patients and replacing a 15-station unit at South Street Hospital and nine-station satellite unit at Baseline Road.

LHSC also partners with eight satellite hospitals in the region to provide hemodialysis for approximately 300 patients. Another 125 patients receive self-care dialysis in their own home, a small number of whom are part of the peritoneal home dialysis program that includes telehomecare support to monitor patients’ conditions, enabling early intervention for problems.

Recent research conducted in part by physicians from LHSC and Lawson Health Research Institute has shown the benefits of the overnight treatment provided by LHSC’s home hemodialysis program, rather than traditional dialysis consisting of three treatments per week at 3.5 to 4.5 hours each. By doubling the frequency of dialysis to six sessions per week, two studies conducted in part by Lawson’s Dr. Robert Lindsay and colleagues have shown that both six-to-eight hour gentle treatments while sleeping and two-to-three hours high efficiency daytime treatments increases patient survival rates and leads to improved quality of life.

ABOVE: Garry Sorley at home with his peritoneal dialysis equipment.

BELOW: Betty Ann Wilson, registered nurse, cares for patients in the dialysis unit at University

Betty Ann Wilson

NEW WAYS to deliver
life-saving dialysis

A retired electrician, Garry Sorley was used to coming and going as he pleased, never tied to a schedule. But five years ago that unhindered mobility was threatened when Garry was diagnosed with a kidney condition that meant dialysis was in his immediate future.

“It was difficult and frightening to be told that I would require regular and ongoing dialysis,” says Garry, an avid recreational hockey player. “All I could think of was how that would impact me, my wife, my daily activities and our life together.”

But thanks to a new video-monitoring development in the home peritoneal dialysis offered through LHSC’s Regional Renal Program, Garry hasn’t had to leave the comfort of his home in Teeswater, Ont. for the required frequent dialysis treatments.

Dialysis is the process of removing toxins and fluids from the body through a machine, a process normally controlled by the kidneys (or renal system). Often this treatment requires patients to be connected to a dialysis machine for hours at a time, several days a week. Many will have to come into hospital or clinic for this treatment so for those with no renal program in their community, it can mean lengthy and frequent commutes.

In addition to three hospital, one satellite and eight community-based dialysis units, LHSC’s renal program also offers home dialysis to approximately 125 patients. And in 2009 thanks to support from Baxter International Inc., LHSC became the first hospital in North America to offer a peritoneal home dialysis program with video monitoring, giving patients like Garry the opportunity to be treated at home with the expertise of a renal nurse just a mouse-click — instead of a hospital drive — away.

“The option of being in my own home with overnight dialysis meant I could stay active during the day. And having the ability to contact a nurse when I needed support made me much more comfortable using this dialysis method,” says Garry.

“Garry is a bright, active, engaged man who very much wanted to remain as independent as possible,” says Garry’s nephrologist at LHSC, Dr. Peter Cordy. “He also has a very supportive wife, so in many ways he is an ideal candidate for home peritoneal dialysis.”

Garry and his wife, Jennifer made the trip down to London for a week to learn how to use the home dialysis machine, the video link and computer, and how to fulfill the data entry portion of the peritoneal home dialysis program. A nurse monitors the data that Garry inputs, and if any levels are concerning she can contact Garry by phone or face-to-face via the computer.

Independence and self-management are large components of the peritoneal home dialysis program, with renal nurses such as Darlene Wadsworth coaching and supporting the patients to become better self-managers.

“Through coaching and the at-home dialysis, Garry has been able to play a key role in his own progress and health outcomes,” says Darlene from the South Street Hospital dialysis site which next year will be moved to LHSC’s new Kidney Care Centre at Westmount Mall.

Back in Teeswater, Garry says he is very happy that LHSC offers the peritoneal home dialysis program, which he credits with making living with a difficult disease much easier.

I can’t thank LHSC and the renal program staff enough for helping me to live a full and active life.”