Dialysis unit shaping up

“By the first week of August, she’ll be looking like something.”
That’s the promise Ed Cousineau, manager of bio-medical engineering at La Verendrye hospital, made Tuesday during a site visit to the new dialysis unit under construction there.
“We’re well underway,” he said, noting the work is still on schedule.
“All the electrical, plumbing, and mechanical is done. All the cabinetry is being worked on by Les Gingrich of Mine Centre right now. And it should be ready by the end of July,” added Cousineau, as maintenance staff Harold Johnson and Nick Mainville worked on “muddying” dry wall and “firewalling” some pipes elsewhere in the new unit.
“Everything’s been pretty much done. The walls now have to be sanded and primed–probably in two weeks, it’ll look like a ‘real room,’” he remarked.
In that time, flooring will be installed, followed by wallpaper, and then the “finishing touches,” like lights and blinds.
“Once we get the ceiling in, it really finishes it. We’ll have it done well before they’re in here,” said Cousineau, referring to the staff which will be operating the hemodialysis unit.
He pointed out some of the changes made to area which once constituted part of the day hospital, including the walling up of the west entrance and the addition of a door to the south.
The unit consists of multiple areas, including the waiting area, the nurses’ station, a utility room, an isolation room for dialysis patients which are otherwise ill, a change room, and the patient room where treatments are administered.
Nursing staff for the unit currently are being trained in Thunder Bay.
“We’re still plugging for Sept. 16,” Wayne Woods, CEO of Riverside Health Care Facilities Inc., previously had said, referring to the date when the unit will be operational.
Dr. Bill McCready, the medical director of renal services at Thunder Bay Regional Hospital, is in charge of staff as the unit here is considered a satellite unit of the one in Thunder Bay.
Once operational, up to 24 district patients will benefit from the unit’s services. Woods said he knows of about 20 currently in need of the treatments.
The treatments will be offered six days a week.
Many district patients currently travel to Thunder Bay for treatment three days a week.
The unit is made possible through government funding, as well as money raised by the Aboriginal Dialysis Unit Initiative and Riverside Foundation for Health Care’s “Care Close to Home” campaign.
In related news, further down the road will be the $8-million in renovations to La Verendrye itself. But administration is still waiting for word of approval of plans from the province, and work may not start until winter.
The extensive overhaul–which could take 18 months to two years to complete–will include a west wing located on the south side of the building which will house the permanent dialysis unit.