The Renal Program takes an interdisciplinary approach to renal care using a team of healthcare professionals, each specializing in an area of kidney disease care to provide you with the best possible service and care. This team includes:

Nephrologist (Kidney Specialist)

- is a doctor who treats people with kidney disease. The renal service nephrologists see patients in the hospital setting and in their offices. After hours and on weekends an “on-call” nephrologist can be reached through the Thunder Bay Answering Service. The nephrologist monitors your kidney disease and creates a care plan with you based on your medical needs as well as your life circumstances to ensure you receive the best care possible.

The Nurse Practitioner

- is a Registered Nurse with advanced knowledge, skill and competencies. The Renal Nurse Practitioner can diagnose order and interpret tests and is able to treat various health problems and prescribe medications. The renal nurse practitioner works in collaboration with the nephrologists to develop an individual treatment plan for patients in the hemodialysis department.

Biomedical/Dialysis Technologist

- are vital members of the interdisciplinary team providing a high level of expertise in clinical technology in dialysis water systems and dialysis related equipment. They serve as a resource to the home hemodialysis patient. They are dedicated to providing safe, effective and efficient use of clinical technology. This is achieved in a variety of ways: quality assurance, risk management, preventive maintenance of dialysis equipment, emergency repairs, performance assurance, technical consultation, user education and technology assessment.

Dieticians

- help you learn about the special diet that is part of your treatment plan. The dietitian can also help you learn how to read labels and what to look for when shopping and choosing foods. They will also help you plan meals, teach you how to prepare the food and advise you which spices, herbs and seasonings can be used safely. People with kidney disease (pre-dialysis, dialysis, and post-transplant) will benefit from making changes to their lifestyle including what they eat and drink. Dietitians can help patients plan healthier choices to better manage their disease.

Renal Pharmacist

- help you learn about your medication and helps resolve any drug related problems. The pharmacists monitor the effectiveness of your medications, makes suggestions to your doctor and reviews medications prescribed by other doctors, or those purchased “over the counter”, and answer any questions you may have.

Renal Pharmacy Technician

- assists the pharmacist. You can address your concerns related to medications, refills, or drug coverage concerns with the technician.

The Social Workers

- assist individuals and families in adapting to the changes and challenges that may come with living with kidney disease. Being diagnosed with kidney disease and undergoing treatment for it is a life-changing event for individuals and their families. Not only does it affect your physical health, but the emotional and social side of life is greatly impacted as well. Your social worker will help you understand and access what services may be available to help you during what may be a difficult time.

The Indigenous Navigator

- provides translation/interpretation and support to the Indigenous renal patients. The navigator will connect you with relevant services and provides support in adjusting to the changes that occur with relocation. The Indigenous Navigator works closely with the other members of the team to help direct your care.

The Patient Educator/Navigators

- role is to support the patient experience by providing information, decision support, and navigate the path for patients as they learn and decide on the treatment modality that best fits with their values, beliefs and life plan.

Dialysis Access Coordinator / Body Access Coordinator

- helps patients with decision-making related to access choices. The coordinator works closely with the nephrologists and surgeons to plan your care.

Independent Dialysis Coordinator

- ensures that patients who choose independent (home) dialysis are supported to carry through with their modality choice. This can also include partnering with Community Care Access Centre and Long Term Care Services to assist patients who may not be able to be totally independent and need assistance with their dialysis needs. The independent dialysis coordinator assists with developing strategies and partnerships to allow you to be on “home dialysis” if this is your treatment decision.

Clinical Nurse Specialist

- provides educational and operational support to the renal interdisciplinary team.

Volunteers

A number of volunteers help out throughout the renal program.

Reception Clerks

- may be your first contact in the renal program. The welcoming and friendly reception staff help make you feel comfortable when you arrive and can answer many questions about the renal program or direct you to someone who can help.

You Are Part of the Care Team

The most important thing to remember is that patients and family members are an important part of the care team. Doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals can can partner with you to create a care plan and recommendations to help you manage your disease. However, deciding to follow that care plan is up to you. We understand that facing kidney disease is difficult. That’s why we provide you with the medical, emotional, spiritual, mental, and other supports to assist you along the way.

Here are a few ways you can stay involved in your own care:

  • Ask questions if you are unclear about instructions or the information being given to you
  • Talk to family members, and bring a family member or trusted friend to appointments
  • Come to all appointments including dialysis
  • Follow all recommendations for taking medications, eating and drinking, exercise, etc.
  • Stop smoking or using tobacco
  • Take advantage of our support systems (see “Supports” below)