Local dialysis unit to be featured on CTV’s ‘Canada in a Day’

June 22, 2017   ·   0 Comments

THE DIALYSIS UNIT at Headwaters Health Care Centre will be featured in an upcoming CTV specia ‘Canada in a Day’, commemorating the country’s 150th birthday. Above, nurses from the unit Kelly Jenkins-Young (left), Darlene Campbell-McConnell (centre) and Tania Alexander, who will each be featured in the special, pose for a photo.

By Mike Pickford

With most of the country counting down the days to what is sure to be a historic, nationwide celebration come July 1, a team of local nurses are simply looking forward to sitting down in front of their television screens this Sunday.

The dialysis unit at Headwaters Health Care Centre (HHCC) will be featured in the upcoming CTV special ‘Canada in a Day’ – a two-hour program featuring footage from more than 10,000 Canadians from all 10 provinces and three territories. The team of five nurses submitted a 10-second clip to producers for consideration last September  and were informed in April that they would be included.

“We put this thing together using the camera on my phone, we did probably 14 or 15 takes for something that is only 10 seconds long… I couldn’t believe it when I heard we had made the final cut,” registered nurse Tania Alexander told the Citizen. “It’s so exciting. This special features people from all walks of life from across the country. It’s pretty incredible we’ll be in there.”

The idea to send in a submission came about after fellow nurse Kelly Jenkins-Young saw an advertisement while watching TV at home.

“I came into work on the Saturday (after)… It was a day off for me, so I thought, ‘let’s put a submission together’,” Ms. Jenkins-Young said.

And so a group of five nurses, including both Ms. Alexander and Ms. Jenkins-Young, embraced the spirit of Canada, donning the national colours and sending greetings to the nation.

“I guess our underlying message is that we want to bring awareness to kidney disease and to our dialysis unit,” Ms. Alexander said. “This is a pretty special thing we have at our hospital and I believe it’s something that should be promoted a little more. I don’t think a lot of people in Orangeville even know we have a dialysis unit here in Orangeville, but we are here and we keep people alive in our community.”

Dialysis is a process for removing waste and excess water from the blood and is primarily used as an artificial replacement for lost kidney functions in people with kidney failure. Currently, the hospital employs 12 nurses and four personal support workers (PSW) at the unit. The team currently supports 28 regular patients.

“These people are in here for dialysis four hours a day, three times per week,” Darlene Campbell-McConnell, another dialysis nurse at HHCC, said. “We get to know these people really well.”

And so, with patients “locked and loaded” in their beds, the nurses on shift the day of the filming looked to include them where they could. They asked for patient opinions on what they should wear and even asked one to film a take.

“The first time we asked one of our individuals to film for us, it turned out she had been pointing the camera the wrong way and had taped herself!” Ms. Campbell-McConnell said. “That brought some laughs.”

While the team, and indeed the patients, had a lot of fun putting the clip together the sobering fact remains that kidney failure is  a growing problem in the Headwaters region.

“We’re definitely seeing growth here in the number of patients we’re seeing. We’ve always said that we’re a dialysis family, but that family is growing larger,” Ms. Alexander said. “That’s one of the reasons we wanted to do this, so that we could draw attention to the fact that we are here and this is becoming a problem. “

She added that dialysis is literally the difference between life and death for patients with kidney failure, stating those suffering would more than likely die if they missed even one week’s worth of treatment.

“Kidney failure is a serious, serious issue. Without dialysis for a week, maybe two, our patients will die. That’s why it’s so important that we offer it” here in Orangeville, Ms. Alexander said.

“People don’t want to travel to the likes of Brampton, Hanover or Barrie for treatment. Geographically, it’s great that we have a unit right here in Orangeville as a lot of our patients live close to this area,” Ms. Jenkins-Young added.

To catch ‘Canada in a Day’ tune in to CTV this Sunday, June 25 at 8 p.m.

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