Everyone’s disease and life circumstances are different, and your renal care will be customized to your needs. Below is a basic overview of our care services at the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre.

Diagnosis

In most cases, your primary care provider (family doctor, nurse practitioner, etc.) will refer you to a nephrologist (kidney specialist) if he or she suspects that you may have chronic kidney disease (CKD). You may also be referred by doctors in the Emergency Department or another doctor or specialist who may be treating you. The nephrologist will order tests for you, and if you are diagnosed with kidney disease, will refer you to the Renal Program for your continuing care.

This can be an emotional time, so you are encouraged to bring along a family member or trusted friend to your appointments with the renal team members for support and to listen to the information the doctors are giving you.

The Multi Care Kidney Clinic

People who have kidney disease but are not requiring dialysis attend our Multi-Care Kidney Clinic following a referral made by one of the nephrologists. During this time, their kidney disease can be treated with medications, diet, exercise, and lifestyle changes including stopping smoking/tobacco use. During the clinic, the care team will support you through the above care plan as well as provide information and decision support as you make treatment decisions. You are encouraged to bring a family member or trusted friend to your first appointment (and any other appointment, if it will make you feel more comfortable). The goal of the Multi-Care Kidney Clinic is to monitor your condition to better manage your disease, and to slow the speed at which your disease is progressing. Depending on your condition, you may be able to avoid dialysis for some time. Following your care plan is an important part of this. Attending all appointments, keeping to your dietary restrictions, exercising, and stopping smoking/tobacco use will all help you.

Transplant

– Kidney transplantation is the best known treatment for kidney disease. It is not a cure. Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre does not perform kidney transplantation. Instead, the renal program team will liaise with the referral transplant centres on your behalf and will assist with the assessment process. They will continue to follow you post transplant as well, decreasing the travel outside of Northwestern Ontario.

Living Kidney Donation

– People interested in living kidney donation can contact the renal outpatient coordinators to learn more about this option. As with kidney transplantation, the person interested in kidney donation would be required to travel to the transplant centre for the donation. The renal team will assist and support you through the process from learning about donation through post operative care. Conservative Treatment – Some people choose not to undergo dialysis of any type. The renal program provides monitoring services through the Multi-Care Kidney Clinic to help people maintain their health and manage their symptoms.

The Hemodialysis Unit

- is open Monday to Saturday from 7:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. Patients attend the hemodialysis unit for their treatments three times per week. One dialysis rotation is Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and the other is Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday. You will have hemodialysis treatment appointments made during one of the treatments schedules. The treatment lasts up to four and one half hours in length. During the time you are on hemodialysis, you may choose to watch television, read, sleep, or some other type of quiet activity. Visitors are welcome during your treatment. You will be assessed each treatment by your nurse, nurse practitioner or your nephrologist. If there are any issues that need to be addressed, the other members of the interdisciplinary team can be contacted and will see you then or as soon as possible. If you feel unwell and require medical attention outside of you regular hemodialysis treatment time, it is advised that you go to the emergency department. People who are interested in hemodialysis as their choice of treatment can receive a tour of the unit as well as learn more about the treatment before making their decision. Hemodialysis is available in Thunder Bay at one of our three satellite sites in Fort Frances, Sioux Lookout and Kenora.

The Hemodialysis Registered Nurses

- are specially trained to provide you with hemodialysis therapy. If hemodialysis is your treatment choice the nurses will teach you about dialysis and your responsibilities during and between treatments. The nurses assess you during each treatment, and work closely with the other members of the team to provide you with the best possible care.

The Peritoneal Dialysis Unit

- is open seven days a week from 7:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. The nurses provide follow up care and advice for those who choose this type of home dialysis.

The Peritoneal Dialysis Registered Nurses

- are specially trained care providers. If peritoneal dialysis is your treatment choice the nurses will teach you about the treatment and train you to do your dialysis at home. They provide ongoing telephone support and occasional follow-up home support visits to you and are available to answer any of your dialysis related concerns. Your regular follow-up clinic visits will be scheduled at the clinic in the peritoneal dialysis unit. The peritoneal dialysis nurse will continue to support you at these visits where you will be seen by the interdisciplinary team.

Home Hemodialysis

– The home hemodialysis unit is open Monday, Wednesday, Friday from 7:30 am to 3:30 pm.

The Home Hemodialysis Registered Nurse

- is a specially trained hemodialysis nurse that specializes in home hemodialysis. This nurse will train you and/or you family member to do your own hemodialysis treatments at home. The nurse works closely with the interdisciplinary team, including the biomedical technologist to provide you with a safe, effective and comfortable home dialysis experience. Your home hemodialysis nurse will continue to support you while you are at home, offering telephone support, clinic appointments and home visits as needed.