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March 23, 2001

Eva Kohout
Communications Officer
519-685-8500, ext. 77622

New city-wide renal dialysis unit open at London Health Sciences Centre

(LONDON, Ontario) - The new Adam Linton Dialysis/Plasmapheresis Unit at Victoria Campus of London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC) was officially opened today. Present to celebrate this important milestone, and participate in a tour of the facility were Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, Tony Clement, Minister of Colleges and Universities, Dianne Cunningham, and President and CEO of LHSC, Tony Dagnone. The unit is the latest project to be completed under the London hospitals restructuring mandate and will provide acute dialysis/plasmapheresis services to the region.

The dialysis unit is a key component of the LHSC's Regional Nephrology Program, which cares for patients with a whole range of kidney diseases, including acute and chronic renal (kidney) failure. Dialysis is a treatment that is provided for patients who are experiencing acute or chronic renal failure. This treatment replaces the function of the kidneys when the kidneys have stopped working.

The new unit also has three plasmapheresis (plasma exchange) stations and can treat up to three patients at a time. The plasmapheresis program is regional, providing service to all of southwestern Ontario for the management of complex acute medical conditions that require removal of certain proteins and antibodies from the blood. The regional role of LHSC in caring for patients in need of renal care was reinforced during the Walkerton outbreak, when 29 patients received treatment at this centre.

"Because the new unit must accommodate a large volume of patients, we designed it into three treatment areas to make it more manageable for staff and friendlier for the patients," commented Joy Bevan, Renal Patient Care Coordinator for the Adam Linton Dialysis/Plasmapheresis Unit. "The treatment areas were designed to take advantage of natural lighting. The colour scheme was chosen to help with the flow of patient movement and to create a bright and cheerful environment. In the planning process both patients and staff were consulted as to what the most important areas of focus should be."

The Renal Program consolidated at LHSC from St. Joseph's Health Care, London (SJHC) in January. Forty SJHC renal staff members transferred with the program and were welcomed at LHSC. There were no job losses. Currently, in-patient services and a dialysis unit remain at South Street Campus of LHSC, but under the restructuring mandate, they will eventually transfer to Victoria Campus of LHSC along with other key services.

"This program exemplifies the leadership role London Health Sciences Centre has in dealing with renal diseases," states Mr. Dagnone. "The efforts we're making are to improve the quality of life for all patients in the London and southwestern Ontario region. We are most fortunate to have the expertise and dedication that our patient care team brings to this special group of patients."