Dialysis project in final stages

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Back from left, Marlie Armstrong (CSSSP Office Administrator), Gail Ryan (Director of Nursing), Richard Grimard, and Jack Lang (public representative). Front from left, Allan Dean, Donald Lavallee (Pontiac Community Hospital Foundation President ), and Dr. Thomas O’Neill.

Lisa Boisvert



Back from left, Marlie Armstrong (CSSSP Office Administrator), Gail Ryan (Director of Nursing), Richard Grimard, and Jack Lang (public representative). Front from left, Allan Dean, Donald Lavallee (Pontiac Community Hospital Foundation President ), and Dr. Thomas O’Neill.

Lisa Boisvert

SHAWVILLE – The Hemodialysis project was the subject of discussion in the Pontiac Community Hospital’s Boardroom, September 19; this project began in 1997 when two families needing treatment hosted a horse pull which raised $17,000 for a dialysis machine in the Pontiac. A few months later, full-fledged fundraising began. “The community has raised over $627,000 so far. We are considered the poorest region in Quebec so it shows how much people care about and need this service,” said Richard Grimard, Director General of the Centre de Sante et de Services sociaux du Pontiac.  
Patients who need dialysis treatment currently have to travel to other regions to receive care. “If the Pontiac is one of the largest communities in Quebec, why do we have to travel the farthest for services? Why spend $1.1 million in the city when it can be spent in the Pontiac?” asked Dr. Thomas O’Neill, the doctors’ representative on the Hospital Foundation Board.
Currently, a dialysis patient devotes about 24 hours per week getting the services they need; this includes at least two hours travelling, and 4.5 hours of treatment two or three times a week. Often the patient is unable to drive themselves; family members or friends may help out, but they must wait, and possibly miss work, while the treatment is given.  This can cause distress to the patient as they feel like a burden. 
Pontiac Hospital was slated third in line to receive a dialysis unit; Maniwaki and Papineauville have already received theirs. “There are major changes coming to our health care system and we are asking for $5 million in a time of cutbacks. A lot of people will need dialysis in the future; 16 people from the region are currently on   dialysis and 61 suffering from renal failure are being followed by the outpatient clinic in Gatineau,” explained Grimard, who said the Pontiac’s goals for the dialysis project are still attainable.   
Those in attendance agreed the public must remain informed about the project and its progress. “It is possible. It just needs to be worked through and we need to keep educating   people on its importance. Plans have already been sent to the appropriate agencies and we are in the final stages of realizing the project in terms of planning, training, and building placement,” concluded Alan Dean, public representative.