Kidney Care at St. Paul’s

Mar 15, 2019 | News

Ken Wilson and his son, Clark at St. Paul's Hospital.Ken Wilson and his son, Clark at St. Paul's Hospital.

When Ken Wilson first took ill with kidney disease, he travelled back and forth between St. Paul’s and his home in Bella Bella. The care was excellent, but the journey was long. Ken wanted the opportunity to have home dialysis.

Home dialysis is liberating, but it can also be challenging, especially for people in remote communities. You need a friend or family member who’s not only willing to assist but is available for the two-month training program. Ken was fortunate that his son, Clark, volunteered to accompany him to St. Paul’s and to be his dialysis partner.

“Dialysis is hard on the body,” explains nephrologist Dr. Monica Beaulieu. “So much so, that many patients who might have started dialysis in the past, are instead being followed with very careful symptom management. They are living as long or longer than they would if they had started dialysis.”

Knowing that dialysis would not be a good long-term solution for his father, Clark started the process of getting Ken on the waiting list for a transplant. Ken returned to St. Paul’s to receive his new kidney in 2017. Today, he is able to go out on his skiff and spend time with his wife of 39 years, his 5 children, and 12 grandchildren.

St. Paul’s is one of just two centres in BC for comprehensive kidney care including doing the majority of, and most complex, kidney transplantation. “Our job is not just to focus on people with chronic kidney disease who need transplant or dialysis, but also to keep the other 80% well by helping them avoid the pitfalls that might lead to kidney failure,” says Dr. Beaulieu.

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