Campbell River Mayor Andy Adams and North Island MLA Claire Trevena (centre) were among the ribbon cutters at the official opening new Kidney Care Clinic at the Campbell River Hospital on March 11, 2020. Photo by Alistair Taylor - Campbell River Mirror

New Kidney Care Clinic officially opened in Campbell River Hospital

North and Central Island residents living with kidney disease now have access to integrated, specialized care closer to home, thanks to a new kidney care clinic at the North Island Hospital in Campbell River.

The clinic, funded by BC Renal and operated by Island Health, officially opened on Jan. 6, 2020, to support people living with kidney disease but who do not require dialysis or post-transplant care.

“March is National Kidney Month, so it is particularly appropriate that we recognize the excellent work being done here in Campbell River to support improved kidney health,” said Claire Trevena, MLA for North Island. “This is an excellent resource for the people of the North Island living with kidney disease.”

In the past, North Island residents had to travel to Nanaimo to see a kidney specialist or wait for travelling care teams to visit Campbell River or the Comox Valley. Now they have access to a new kidney care team that includes nurses, a dietitian, social worker and pharmacy technician.

“It’s excellent to see care provided in a way that works best for the patient, as we work on developing a health system that truly meets the needs of patients, where they are in the community, at home,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health. “By reducing the burden of travel for patients on the North Island, we’re helping them be empowered with their health to address the challenges of living with kidney disease.”

The clinic, located in the hospital’s wellness centre, operates from Monday to Friday. Kidney specialists, called nephrologists, will visit weekly.

“Research clearly shows that early identification and treatment can slow or even stop progression of kidney disease through changes to lifestyle and diet, as well as medications. The more involved a person is in his or her own care, the better the results,” said Dr. Adeera Levin, executive director, BC Renal.

The Campbell River kidney care clinic, which is the third such clinic in Island Health, provides patients with expert education, counselling and support with things like diet, medication and other important factors that influence overall health and disease progression. Approximately 250 patients benefited when their care was moved to the new clinic. Future patients will be referred by their nephrologist.

“The goals of the clinic are to provide information and support for people with advanced or quickly progressing kidney disease,” said Teresa Backx, manager of Renal Services, Island Health. “The clinic promotes patients being involved in their care and has an emphasis on self-management. Patient visits don’t always need to include a nephrologist, but they can work with the rest of our care team to slow progression of their illness or prepare them for treatment options if required. This clinic will deliver care closer to home, which is really important.

“Once they begin receiving care, patients want to visit the clinics. Making it easier for patients in this region to access a kidney care clinic is a real benefit to them and their families.”

Visiting clinics, with travelling practitioners from Nanaimo, will continue to be held in the Comox Valley.

Walter Podovsky, Comox Valley patient, said “The people in Nanaimo are wonderful, but it’s that much farther to travel. It will be great to have the clinic in Campbell River. I’m sure it will be well used.”