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Contact: Linda J. Johnson
WCA Hospital, Public Relations Department
(716) 664-8614

WCA Dialysis Program Expands To Meet Need

WCA Hospital

It’s Thursday morning and Mrs. Toots Bargar of Jamestown, New York, is receiving a dialysis treatment at WCA Hospital. She will be at the hospital for three hours while a dialysis machine filters toxins and fluids from her blood. Toots will return three times next week and every week after that. She has kidney disease.  The nine hours she spends in the dialysis unit each week keeps her alive. “This is my life.” Toots said.

Mrs. Bargar is one of the many local residents whose dependence on dialysis inspired WCA Hospital to expand their dialysis program to serve the ever-growing demand for dialysis in the community.  WCA’s nationally recognized program is located on 4th Floor of WCA Hospital and now, through its expansion efforts, can accommodate 108 patients per week. 

“Our expansion clearly enhances our hospital’s ability to care for more patients and is a tremendous benefit to our community," said Betsy T. Wright, WCA Hospital President/CEO. “We have a long-standing obligation to advance the health and well-being of the communities we serve and are privileged to advance these life-saving services through continuous improvement and accessibility to care.”

The need for dialysis care at WCA has consistently grown since 2001. Demographics indicate the trend will continue to grow throughout the region according to Dominick Cannone, M.D., board certified Nephrologist and Medical Director of Dialysis Care at WCA. “The additional dialysis stations will provide more availability to treatment, in a relaxing, comfortable, spacious and secure environment for our patients.”

Award-Winning Care In Your Home Town

According to the National Kidney Foundation, approximately 26 million Americans are estimated to be living with kidney disease and most individuals are completely unaware of their condition according to a new study published in the Journal of American Medical Association. 

“Most individuals do not realize they have kidney problems until they experience life threatening symptoms,” said Dr. Cannone. “By the time a condition is diagnosed, patients may have to resort to more advanced treatment options like dialysis.”

“Renal or kidney failure occurs when a person’s kidney loses its ability to filter wastes, allowing toxins to build up,” explains Dr. Cannone.  “Dialysis is a life-saving procedure for patients whose kidneys have failed or been lost due to disease, birth defects or injury.  Dialysis treatment removes waste and extra fluids from patients with diseased kidneys and can be used temporarily until the kidneys resume function or the patient receives a transplant.  However, most dialysis patients require treatment for the rest of their lives.”

Pamela Meurer, R.N., BS, Dialysis Nurse Manager, explains that access to dialysis care is very important due to the intense schedule patients must adhere to. “While some patients self administer peritoneal dialysis from the convenience of their home, most of our patients must undergo hemodialysis at the hospital receiving their treatment at least three times a week, with each treatment lasting up to four hours.”

The hospital’s comprehensive program allows those needing treatment to receive medical care close to where they live which causes less disruption to them and their families, noted Ms. Meurer who commented that the three treatments per week can be demanding on a patient’s way of life.  “Dialysis is a serious disruption of a person’s life,” said Pam.  “Treatment close to home helps make a person’s quality of life more tolerable.”

WCA has been a leader in dialysis care since 1967. The program's mission is to promote the optimal health, quality of life and independence of people with kidney disease, through exceptional patient care and education.

Talk To The Experts

“One of the best medicines for kidney disease is education,” said Mindy Moore, R.N., Peritoneal Dialysis Nurse Kidney Educator.  “Our Kidney Education program is designed to identify and teach those diagnosed with developing or chronic kidney disease how to manage their condition.”

“Education is the key to disease management,” adds Pam Meurer. “We provide important educational information as well as links to other excellent educational resources.”

Family Support

For Mrs. Bargar and her husband, Jack, a trip to dialysis three times a week isn’t nearly as bad as it may appear.  “I read my favorite magazines to pass the time,” says Toots.  “It is a way of life for me, but I work around it by finding plenty of spare time to visit with my doctor, shop at my favorite grocery store, cook at home, dine out, and - most importantly – still find time to rest until my next trip to the hospital. 

Mrs. Bargar’s husband Jack, who has never missed a dialysis appointment with his wife, has discovered that the trips to the hospital have become a great way to meet new friends and share conversations with the dialysis staff who has become their second family. 

“You have to remember, dialysis patients are here at least three times a week,” says Mrs. Bargar.  “The staff is like a second family to us and we love each and everyone of them just like they were our family.”

“Our goal is to make the patient and their family’s stay with us as convenient and comfortable as possible,” said Pam.

State & National Recognition

Amgen, the world’s largest biotechnology company, consistently recognizes the conscientious efforts of the WCA Dialysis team for its outstanding work in anemia management.  The dialysis staff regularly scores above the quality benchmark for hematocrits above 33% receiving both state and national recognition.  “When anemia is present, there are not enough red blood cells to carry oxygen to the tissues causing patients to feel mentally and physically fatigued,” said Ms. Meurer.  “By way of anemia management, our patients are able to maintain a hematrocrit above 33%, thereby the patient feels better and generally improves their quality of life.”

“Our goal is to offer our patients and the community the best medicine has to offer,” says Betsy Wright. “This expansion is critical in maintaining our hospital’s solid reputation of improving the health and well-being of those we serve.”

Anyone interested in learning more about the WCA Hospital Dialysis Program or to make dialysis treatment arrangements, should contact the WCA Hospital Dialysis Unit at (716) 664-8226.


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