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    Published Tue Jun 21st 2016

    Meet Dr. Ben Thomson, Medical Director for the Home Dialysis Therapies at the Kingston General Hospital (KGH) and a faculty member of the Queen’s Department of Medicine, Division of Nephrology.

    The Ontario Renal Network recently announced, “We have achieved a prevalent home dialysis rate of 25.5% up from 24.12% in the previous fiscal year in Ontario.” Rebecca Harvey, Vice President of the Ontario Renal Network (ORN) explains, “these efforts align with the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care’s goal to strengthen care in the home and community sector and to the Ontario Renal Network’s strategic objective to safely increase the number of patients receiving dialysis in their homes.” Ontario’s second fastest growing programs is right here in Kingston – at KGH under the leadership of Dr. Thomson and his team!



    More patients are seeking home dialysis; the old style of dialysis involves coming to hospital on a fixed schedule of three times per week, for four hours each time. The schedule of home dialysis is much more flexible, allowing patients to enjoy more hobbies, community activities, or even to return to work! Home dialysis patients’ treatments can even be done while they sleep, leaving the entire daytime free to return to the activities they enjoyed before they were on dialysis! The days of planning life around dialysis are over- patients now plan their dialysis around their life!

    The Home Therapies Team at Kingston General Hospital is truly devoted to offering the life changing therapy to patients from all backgrounds. People of all ages, living in all types of communities can benefit from this therapy. There is even a program that brings Community Care workers to the home twice a day to organize the dialysis treatments in some patient’s homes! One of Dr. Thomson’s patients is an 85 year old, who calls him “my boyfriend.”


    Many seniors are benefiting from home dialysis who had been on the old style of dialysis for numerous years before moving to home dialysis. It provides for them a real improvement in their quality of life. They now can play bridge more with their friends, or volunteer, etc. They don’t need to worry about driving to the hospital three times a week, and finding parking. It really is a change for the better.


    In addition to the numerous benefits of home dialysis to patients, the Ontario government is quite engaged to increase the proportion of patients on home dialysis. Indeed, it is the Ontario Renal Network’s strategic objective to safely increase the number of patients receiving dialysis in their homes. The therapy is less expensive than traditional in-hospital dialysis treatments, reducing the cost on the provincial health care budget! It is a win-win option for all involved!


    That strategic objective is actively ignited within the “Home Dialysis Therapies Team”of KGH through the great work of an engaged team who are making home dialysis an option for more patients. Here are some key points they challenge patients to consider –

    • Do you want a more flexible schedule for our dialysis treatments?
    • Are you tired of travelling to the dialysis unit for your treatments?
    • Are you tired of all the restrictions to your diet?
    • Do dialysis treatments disrupt your school, work or hobbies?
    • Do you want a more flexible lifestyle and more independence?
    • Do you want more control of your dialysis treatments and your life?
    • Do you want to be on fewer medications for blood pressure and phosphate binders?
    • Do you want to dialyze in the privacy of your home, to decide when you eat your meals, or when you want visitors?

    If a patient says yes to any of the above questions, then Home Dialysis may be for them!


    The Home Therapies team also promotes the program through signs and hand-outs.

    There are over 15,000 people in Ontario requiring dialysis. With engaged and committed Home Dialysis teams like at Kingston General Hospital, more of these 15,000 will enjoy an improved quality of life through the home dialysis program!  


    The Department of Medicine congratulates Dr. Ben Thomson and his team at the KGH Home Dialysis Therapies for a job well done; and for further significant successes for all patients seeking dialysis treatment!