Carbonear hospital dialysis unit goes portable

Nicholas Mercer
Published on March 15, 2016

Bay Roberts resident Don Roach has a word to describe the dialysis unit at the Carbonear General Hospital.

He calls them a family.

Spending just a few minutes observing staff from the unit in action and it’s easy to tell why.

They look out for each other, they trust each other and each one is there to make sure all of the patients are efficiently looked after. During a recent day in the unit, a patient’s dialysis pump starts beeping.

One after the other, different nurses take turns addressing what’s happening and assuring the patent he’s in good hands.

The display adds to the list of things that makes Roach speak effusively about the quality of their work.

“The group of nurses here, they’re the best,” said Roach, who travels to Carbonear three times a week for dialysis. “You couldn’t ask for any better. When I first came here, they just accepted you as one of the family.

“You’re close to everyone here.”

Last week, that family got a little bit of a boost with the donation of a portable ultrasound machine for the unit through the Trinity Conception Placentia Health Foundation. It’ll allow them to better help the patients.

It was all a part of World Kidney Day on March 10. It celebrates the work done in dialysis units across the country to raise awareness

In Carbonear, that meant breaking out a giant cake and having the entire unit — patients and all — breaking into song. It was a kidney-theme tune set to Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline,” complete with the requisite fist pumping and shout-along choruses.

It’s a break in the monotony of a dialysis appointment that truly makes the work being done in Carbonear unique. Each patient held a lyric sheet and broke into song with the nurses.

Their smiles said it all.

“We try to have fun with it,” one of the nurses could be heard saying. She said their playlist includes the likes of Kenny Rogers.

It’s the feeling that these nurses try to produce everyday.

Getting back to the machine. Any time a unit can add a piece of equipment, it helps make their job easier.

“It’ll prove to be quite valuable in assisting us,” said registered nurse Roxanne Noseworthy.

Beneath the hum of the dialysis unit next to his bed, the 66-year-old Roach waits for this day’s procedure to finish.

With any luck, he’ll be rid of the weekly visits in just over a month. That’s when he’s set to receive a new kidney from his son.

“The nurses told me I had to come back and visit,” said Roach.