Province spending $3.5 million to expand dialysis treatment capacity

More people in the Pictou area who receive life-saving dialysis treatment will soon be able to receive care closer to home.

The Province is investing $3.58 million to expand renal care at Sutherland Harris Memorial Hospital in Pictou.

“Nova Scotians who need dialysis spend a lot of time every week getting critical care, and many are burdened with the added hardship of travelling hours to the hospital for that care,” said Community Services Minister Karla MacFarlane, MLA for Pictou West, on behalf of Michelle Thompson, Minister of Health and Wellness. “This unit will be transformative for people in Pictou County who will now be able to get life-saving care faster and closer to home.”

The renal care service at Sutherland Harris will grow from four dialysis stations to 12, providing care for an additional 22 dialysis patients a week, up to 48. The expanded unit will eliminate the current wait list and the need for patients to travel to Antigonish, Truro or Halifax for critical treatment. Residents who must travel to receive dialysis occupy spots that could be used by other patients in those communities.

This investment includes required renovations to existing available space. The new unit will be in the same building as the Northumberland Veterans Unit, home to about 20 people requiring long-term care. Those who would need dialysis would not have to leave the hospital, eliminating the need to be transported to receive care.

The project, expected to be completed later this year, will be funded under the 2023-24 capital plan, with support from the Sutherland Harris Memorial Hospital Foundation and Aberdeen Health Foundation.

“We couldn’t be happier that the community will benefit from an expanded dialysis unit at Sutherland Harris Memorial Hospital.  In partnership with the Aberdeen Health Foundation, our foundation has committed a substantial amount of money to this project that will benefit residents of the Pictou area who need dialysis care in their own community.”
     – Ken Johnston, board Chair, Sutherland Harris Memorial Hospital Foundation

“The choice to invest in a local renal program is simple when there’s such a direct positive impact on patient care and quality of life. We are very proud to be working in partnership with Nova Scotia Health and the Province to be part of a solution that will provide access to care close to home. The ways in which this will improve the lives of renal dialysis patients and their families is beyond measure.”
     – Susan MacConnell, board Chair, Aberdeen Health Foundation

Quick Facts:
— $30,000 is also being invested to expand renal care at Queens General Hospital in Liverpool; the investment will allow for expanded hours at the six-station unit, providing care for up to 12 more patients
— a temporary, six-station dialysis unit opened in September at the Cumberland Regional Health Care Centre in Amherst; the hospital’s redevelopment project includes a new, permanent 12-station dialysis unit
— six-station dialysis sites have also been added in Digby, Glace Bay and Dartmouth, and a 12-station site has been added in Kentville
— the dialysis unit at Valley Regional Hospital in Kentville recently expanded to include an evening shift six days a week, bringing total capacity to 72 patients
— patients on dialysis usually receive treatment three days a week, and treatment takes four to five hours

Additional Resources:
Action for Health, the government plan to improve healthcare:

Nova Scotia Health’s renal program:

Sutherland Harris Memorial Hospital Foundation:

Aberdeen Health Foundation:

Source: Release

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