With chronic kidney disease becoming a major issue across Scarborough, The Scarborough Hospital and its foundation are doing their part to ensure patients are getting easier access to the care they need to battle this deadly illness.
Chronic kidney disease is the loss of renal function over an extended period, triggered by high blood pressure, diabetes and poor lifestyle habits.
On Nov. 10, the Scarborough Hospital Foundation hosted the first-ever Scarborough World Gala Lifetime Achievement Award event in which it raised $950,000 for its chronic kidney disease program. The program has over 6,000 patients to date and is the largest in Canada. A dialysis program that houses an additional 700 patients also accompanies it.
It’s about making the experience (more) positive and easier
— Michael Mazza
The Scarborough Hospital is now looking to put the money towards initiatives offering patients more options to treat this illness, such as minor research projects. President and CEO of the Scarborough Hospital Foundation, Michael Mazza, says these funds will shift the hospital’s focus from being a physician-centred model to a patient-centred model so that care is available to them at their own convenience.
“It’s about making the experience (more) positive and easier,” Mazza said. “If the patient is able to get to their appointments and see all the different practitioners, they are better able to manage the disease.”
Additionally, Mazza says some of the money raised will be used to address the possible expansion of the program given that the dialysis program is overcapacity.
“Dialysis is a life and death situation. You can’t say no to a patient,” Mazza said. “The overcapacity issue continues to rise and makes it more difficult to deliver the care at the level that we want. We’re in the process of resolving those issues.”
Though chronic kidney disease is prevalent throughout Scarborough, many of the patients being treated at the hospital are of Asian descent.
Dr. Tabo Sikaneta, a physician at Scarborough Hospital says those of Asian descent are more likely to get the disease due to genetics, amongst other factors.
“They have a higher risk presumably on a genetic basis,” Sikaneta says. “Some of the unknown ones have to do with diets or other academic factors which are specific to the parts of the world they are from.”
Scarborough Hospital plans to establish a community hub, in partnership with community partners such as the United Way and the YMCA in order to provide wide-ranging care for the patient population.
Sikaneta believes the hospital’s patient-first approach will help the chronic kidney disease program to better educate Scarborough residents about CKD at an early stage, so they can avoid dialysis at all costs.
“The idea is to get them out of the hospital and into a centre where they have access to multiple dieticians, nurses and other healthcare professionals, with the patient being empowered to know what’s going on,” he said. “Central to that process would be the patient knowing, the patient being involved, the patient monitoring and having access to multiple services.”