(Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands – March 18th, 2021): The TCI Government cabinet has recently approved portions of a request submitted by InterHealth Canada – Turks and Caicos Islands Hospital to expand the hemodialysis service.
The private health care management company submitted a request to the TCI Government seeking additional infrastructure, equipment, and human resources to support the growing number of dialysis patients. The recent cabinet approval was to recruit two additional full-time dialysis nurses to serve 12 months as an interim measure and on an emergency basis.
The increase in the number of patients presenting to the Turks and Caicos Islands Hospital with chronic diseases complicated by renal failure has been the catalyst for an expanded hemodialysis service. There is an average of six to eight new patients per annum who require dialysis treatment. There are 55 patients currently on dialysis across both medical centres, and dialysis is a life-saving treatment.
According to the Pan American Health Organization, chronic kidney disease (CKD) has been identified as an increasing public health issue worldwide and deserves focused attention in the Americas. Globally, diabetes mellitus and hypertension are the major causes of chronic kidney disease (CKD) and end-stage renal disease (ESRD). A similar picture is also accurate for the Turks and Caicos Islands.
The recently approved additional human resources will expand the department’s capacity to cover treatment shifts for the next 12 months. The Hemodialysis Service consists of ten (10) Specialist Nurses and one (1) Dialysis Technician. A full-time Nephrologist supports the service. There are six dialyzer machines and four back-up machines at Cheshire Hall Medical Centre. Cockburn Town Medical Centre has three dialyzer machines and two back-up machines.
Chief of Allied Services at TCI Hospital, Eleanor Hall, stated: “We are thankful for the approval of the additional nursing staff for the dialysis unit. The treatment session for a dialysis patient is four hours in duration and occurs three times per week. The additional nurses would help us adjust treatment shifts to better hours, prepare for new patients, and reduce the extended working hours currently required to deliver treatments. The hospital’s senior management team will continue to proactively discuss and seek support from TCI Government on long-term measures to meet the growing patient demand.”
Consultant Nephrologist at TCI Hospital, Dr. Vancelee Forbes, stated: “The dialysis unit welcomes this much-needed increase in staff as an interim measure to improve safety and increase the capacity of the dialysis unit at the Cheshire Hall Medical Centre. We look forward to continuing to work closely with the Turks and Caicos Islands Government to improve services, including facilitating the growth of the home dialysis program and increasing opportunities for kidney transplantation.”