The construction of a new dialysis center at the Sacré-Cœur hospital is an emergency, as the Sacré-Cœur Hospital Foundation is launching an auction to participate in the financing of this 5.6 M project. $. Christine Dupuis assistant nurse-head who has worked at the dialysis center for 20 years, tells about the daily life of caregivers and patients in this dilapidated facility which receives up to 150 patients per week.
How do you see the construction of this new dialysis center?
We look forward to it. Currently, when we come back here, it is scary. When patients arrive, they say to themselves, “Oh my God! that’s old ”. It is very cramped between the patients because we try to recover as much space as possible for our dialysis patients. The waiting room is outside. There are people everywhere in the corridors. It is not ideal to think that we will have to come here three times a week.
Is it just a question of new space to be fitted out? We are told that the center is at the end of its life.
The problem is our water system [il faut de l’eau ultra pure pour les appareils de dialyse NDLR]. He’s on life support. If he breaks, it will be disaster. It will be all stations that will shut down and all patients and staff will have to be relocated elsewhere until the problem is resolved. It will have an impact on everyone.
Is this situation new, particularly with regard to the lack of space?
When I started I was working nights. There were very few patients and far fewer stations. Today that has quadrupled. We had to create small stations in the corners to dialyze the number of people we have to treat and there is no more dialysis at night.
Does this lack of space have an impact on the quality of treatment?
What is difficult for patients is that they cannot choose when they can come for dialysis. Their whole life has changed and they have to stick to a schedule that has been set for them. The new center will have 26 stations with a satellite unit of 20 other stations. This will help accommodate more patients.
Can’t people go for treatment elsewhere?
You cannot ask people to go elsewhere. The problem is everywhere in Montreal. We don’t have the choice to take them. We must try to find a hole to dialyze them. Staff must stay on to take care of these overtime patients. Dialysis is almost vital, we cannot do without it.
We try to accommodate as much as possible according to their conditions, but it’s very difficult. Often, they are forced to adapt their lives to the times of their treatment.
How do you present these constraints to people who are long term sick and in need of compassion?
What we tell patients is we will put you on a waiting list. The days when we are able to take them before, we will do it. If there is a transplant recipient, a place will become available at a more convenient time. This is how we approach people. It’s true that it’s very difficult because we want everyone to be happy, but we end up developing a shell to support the client so that they adapt to this dialysis treatment.