Renal Health and Regional Programs
Addressing inequities in the Health System to provide local services to the Island Lake People.
Andy Wood, B.A., CFNHM
Director of Regional Programs
Renal Health and Regional Programs Are Building The Future
Renal and Regional Programs are responsible for a number of large Projects such as researching and putting together information about building a primary Health Care center in Island Lake. Also, oversight of the Island Lake Regional Renal Program in Garden Hill. And very importantly, maintaining and trying to develop services here in the city for people who have had to relocate because of health and medical problems – dialysis and other chronic problems.
Renal Regional Program Owned By The Communities
You talk to somebody in St. Theresa Point and they will say, “Yes that is ours.” Regardless that Northern Medical Unit is doing the dialysis, it belongs to the community.
Initially we were just responsible for the Operations and Maintenance but gradually we have been working with Northern Medical Unit, to learn and work with them for some time in the future when we are ready to take over.
The Renal program is in Garden Hill. All the Island Lake communities know that the renal program in Garden Hill is a regional program, it is not in Garden Hill per say even though it is situated in Garden Hill.
The reason we call it Island Lake Interim Regional Renal Program is that the long-term plan had been for Island Lake to build a hospital. So, once the hospital is built it will have a renal program, it would have maybe 10 beds and the Garden Hill current program would become a satellite of the hospital.
Currently, there are 6 chairs operating at full capacity with 18 patients on a shift basis. Sunday they take off. Monday to Saturday they see 18 patients. That is still very short for the number of dialysis patients we have. The rest have to come to Winnipeg.
Part of the Regional Program in Garden Hill is the security guards that work at the Garden Hill Renal Program.
Regional Addiction Center
We are now working on a regional addiction center which will be located in Red Sucker Lake, but it is an Island Lake Addiction Center.
That is why we are starting a pilot project in Red Sucker Lake, the Home Assisted Hemo Dialysis. It is a pilot project and it is dialysis that the patients can do themselves at the nursing station with the help of health care aides. So that will allow some of the Red Sucker patients to remain home.
There was already home dialysis but the problem is that the people that are under that treatment have to have a really nice house with proper water and sewer. But not all patients have that. There is such a big housing shortage up there.
But this pilot in Red Sucker is being done at the Nursing Station. They have a brand new nursing station that just opened this fall, October. So, they have the water, sewer capability and they had also set aside two rooms when they were building the new nursing station.
So everything is falling into place.
I am the one that is responsible for trying to find programs and services for the people in Winnipeg. And we get very worried about our youth. Nothing for them to do.
We have families that move from the community to Winnipeg, not because they want to, but because of dialysis or other chronic disease. And in our culture, a lot of these are elderly patients and in our culture they have been gifted their grand children to raise. So, when they move here to Winnipeg the grandchildren also move. Because a lot of these people are elderly, they have never lived in the city before and have little resources so they have problems finding a proper place to live. All of a sudden you have all these slum lords in the city. They are the ones prepared to rent to anybody and they are all in the core area.
Our patients who move here end up living in the core area, the kids have nothing to do and they end up in the street. They end up joining the gang lifestyle and that is how they grow up. Ten fifteen years later the elderly patients pass away, the young teenagers move back to the community with all that street and drug background and that is what they take back to the community.
The crisis Management response
When Island Lake was part of MKO, MKO had developed three crisis response teams to go to the community. For example two suicides in the community or a huge house fire . They had developed three teams that could go to each of the communities when the call was made. Unbeknownst to us, they had formed a team for Island Lake without us even being involved. None of our community members involved. Since we withdrew from MKO we have been fighting to have our team transferred and operated out of here.
We will probably have this by April 1, 2020.