Hospital spearheads new kidney program 

The Scarborough Hospital is helping to spearhead a new program targeting chronic kidney disease, the Central East Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) announced Jan. 31.

The Scarborough Hospital will work with Peterborough Regional Health Centre and Durham's Lakeridge Health to develop a process that will identify patients who may have chronic kidney disease earlier and refer them to pre-dialysis programs.  The new strategy will reach out to potential patients in populations at risk for renal problems, such as Aboriginal communities and new immigrants.

A new Ontario health study indicates that by 2010, the Central East LHIN will have more patients using kidney dialysis services than any other LHIN in the Greater Toronto Area.

The Central East LHIN is a provincial body that overseas health planning for an area stretching from Scarborough to Peterborough.

The kidney program is part of the LHIN's $3.2-million funding announcement to improve medical services for chronic conditions.  Other programs include educating doctors and patients about new diabetes guidelines and training patients and their families how to properly manage their chronic diseases through exercise, medication, communication with medical personnel and caregivers and evaluating new treatments.

"Serving such a large and diverse population, we are pleased that the Central East LHIN has invested in these projects that will focus on health education that addresses the specific needs of the people in our community," The Scarborough Hospital interim president Dr. John Wright said in a statement.  "We look forward to working collaboratively with our counterparts to continue providing our patients with quality care."

Dr. George Buldo, co-chair of the LHIN's chronic disease prevention and management network, said programs that prevent or delay the onset of chronic diseases are important because patients with these conditions live with pain, limited mobility and a reduced quality of life.

Meanwhile, Scarborough's two hospitals are among nine in the LHIN's area sharing in another pot of $1 million in new funding.  The money will help the hospitals deal with population growth pressures over the coming year.

"All of our hospitals are dealing with volume pressures due to increasing population growth and demand as they come to the end of their current fiscal year," LHIN chief executive office Deborah Hammons said in a statement.  "Our direction to our hospitals is to use this funding to meet these needs."

Rouge Valley Health System is receiving just more than $207,000 while just more than $272,000 is being set aside for The Scarborough Hospital.  Hospitals and the LHIN are working together on a number of short- and long-term strategies to deal with the area's growing and changing demographics.

The LHIN is also looking for two volunteers to join its community nominations committee as it begins to recruit candidates to fill future board member vacancies.  The volunteers should have skills in a variety of areas, such as accounting, law, human resources or labour relations. They will sit on the committee as non-directors.

Applicants must be at least 18 years old and cannot be employees of the LHIN, the Ministry of Health or any organization that receives funding from the LHIN or the ministry.  Forms are available at www.centraleastlhin.on.ca (click on board of director, then recruitment). 

Article reprinted with the permission of The Scarborough Mirror