October 9, 2012

New home-dialysis technique being offered locally

PLATTSBURGH — Harry Stafford has been undergoing regular dialysis treatments at the H.K. Freedman Renal Center for the past three years, but that will soon change.

Stafford, who suffered kidney failure at age 44 and requires three visits a week to the Renal Center to survive, will soon be performing his own dialysis in the comfort of his home, thanks to a procedure that is being offered locally for the first time.

“It’s a very long day,” Stafford said of his trips to the Renal Center on Monday, Wednesday and Friday of each week. “I drop the kids off at school, come to the center for up to four hours or more.

“This new opportunity is going to free up a lot of my time.”

The procedure is called home hemodialysis, a technique that serves the same function as the regular clinic process but offers many advantages for those who can transition from the supervision offered at a clinic to an independent home setting.

“There are people in the area who have been doing this (dialysis at home), but now we are able to offer the training here in Plattsburgh,” said Marianne Sorrell, a training nurse for the home hemodialysis program at the Renal Center.

Prior to the current training program, kidney-dialysis patients had to travel to Ogdensburg, Syracuse or Burlington, she explained.

“Patients are typically here (at the Renal Center for dialysis) four to six hours a day, three times a week,” Sorrell said. “They can build up a lot of stress being away from home all that time, and there are swings from not feeling well one day to feeling good the next.”

Stafford will actually be undergoing home hemodialysis six out of seven days per week, but he plans to sit at the machine for a couple of hours each evening while watching TV or just enjoying time with his family.

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