Winnipeg’s Health Sciences Centre Opens Pediatric Hemodialysis Unit

Children receiving hemodialysis treatments in Winnipeg’s Health Sciences Centre now have a unit designed just for them.

“Dialysis patients receive treatment three times per week, with each of these treatments lasting four hours,” said Sandie Kowalski, Manager of Patient Care. “That’s a lot of time to stay in one place, especially for a child. We’ve tried to create a space that the kids can call their own. Each patient has a regular chair or bed in the unit and we’ve invited them to decorate their space with items such as posters and to keep personal items like a pillow or blanket for their comfort during treatments.”

“This Pediatric Hemodialysis Unit is the result of a collaborative effort by the Child Health Program Team and staff within Children’s Hospital to develop this service to specifically address the needs of our pediatric patients,” said Dr. Brock Wright, Health Sciences Centre Chief Operating Officer and Winnipeg Regional Health Authority VP and Chief Medical Officer. “Before we had this unit, pediatric patients received dialysis treatments in our adult unit.”

The new four-station unit currently provides hemodialysis for six pediatric patients and can provide treatment for up to eight children.

This unit allows pediatric patients many advantages. This allows for increased flexibility for children who attend school, clinic visits are coordinated and accommodated on-site, which means that each patient experiences fewer trips to hospital. Ultimately, there is a concerted effort to individualize the services provided, and in doing so, optimize the quality of care provided to these children.

The Pediatric Hemodialysis Unit is unique in that it provides pediatric patients and their families with many of the resources afforded to the rest of the children who are seen in Children’s Hospital. These resources include Pediatric Nephrologists, the Child Life Department, Dieticians, Social Work, teachers from the School room, as well as a core group of trained hemodialysis nurses who are focused on developing a trusting relationship with the patients. Collaboratively, the team is able to focus not only on the medical care necessary for these patients, but also on the growth and development needs of the children receiving dialysis three times a week.

Transition to the new unit has been smooth and staff say patients are healthier and satisfied.

As an added special touch, 176 Royal Canadian Air Cadet Squadron donated funds to the Children’s Hospital Foundation to specifically outfit this Unit with games and activities for patients’use while receiving their treatments.

“It’s so much better to receive treatment in this unit,” said Amber Taraschuk, a dialysis patient at HSC for the past two years. “You’re with other kids, you get lots of attention from the nurses and it’s more personal and private.”