St. Anthony dialysis unit finds new home on first floor

St. Anthony dialysis unit finds new home on the first floor

posted on 6/23/2023 in Press Releases

The patients of the St. Anthony Regional Hospital dialysis unit often spend several hours a week at the center. Later this month, the patients will soon receive their care on the first floor. The team is working on moving into their new unit, with their official “go live” date on Monday, June 26.

StaffFrom left to right, Alex Harmening, social worker for the dialysis unit, Lynn Riesenberg, director of the dialysis unit and Sasha Bloyer, dietitian for the dialysis unit.

Lynn Riesenberg, the director of dialysis at St. Anthony Regional Hospital, said the dialysis unit was located at the fourth floor until 2003. A year ago, Riesenberg said, the hospital was restructuring and remodeling.

With other spaces available, the team decided to make the move downstairs at the first floor.

“They were thinking for patient safety and satisfaction, the ground level unit would be good,” Riesenberg said.

Dialysis is the procedure to remove waste products and excess fluids from the blood. The service is provided to patients whose kidneys are not functioning properly.

The process of dialysis is utilized with water-type products. With the former dialysis unit being on the fourth floor, Riesenberg said it was tricky as the area is prone to leaks. By moving it to the first floor, Riesenberg said it’ll prevent leakage.

Sasha Bloyer, the dietitian for St. Anthony’s dialysis unit, said the space will be more accessible for everyone. In the new unit, all of the offices are closer together, which allows easier communication among employees.

StaffThe staff for the dialysis unit at St. Anthony Regional Hospital. From left to right are Lynn Riesenberg, Aricka Sibenaller, Stephanie Drake, Jill Reilly, Liz Lucken, Sheila Hahn, Julie Schrader, Sasha Bloyer and Alex Harmening.

“There’s more space for the staff, as well as the patients,” Bloyer said. “I think the flow wil work more smoothly for everybody.”

Riesenberg said patients often use transportation from Western Iowa Transit (WIT) after going through dialysis. With the unit being moved downstairs, Riesenberg said it’ll be easier for patients to load on the buses.

“They help us out greatly,” Riesenberg said of WIT.

The workforce of the unit comprises of 10 employees, with Riesenberg describing them as very skilled when it comes to dialysis.

Although the unit is an outpatient setting, Riesenberg said the team helps coordinate care with all the other primary care physicians and hospitals.

“We have one consolidated medical record, so when our doctors come, they have the whole picture in front of them,” Riesenberg said.

Bloyer said many of their patients have received the treatment for years. Since patients come in three times a week, Bloyer said, the team gets to know their patients very well.

“They really do receive excellent care,” Bloyer said. “Not just for their dialysis, but we help with all aspects to help coordinate other conditions and all those other things.”

From a dietician standpoint, Bloyer said one of the aspects patients may find overwhelming is changes in eating habits.

Old unitThe former dialysis unit, which is located on the fourth floor of St. Anthony Regional Hospital.

“That’s where I work with our patients one-on-one individually to help guide them through that,” Bloyer said. “I always tell everybody that I want them to eat the foods they enjoy.

Alex Harmening, the social worker for St. Anthony’s dialysis unit, provides support to patients and their family members as they learn to cope with kidney disease. While working with their patients, Harmening said they try to work with a holistic approach.

ScaleThe scale inside of the new dialysis unit at St. Anthony Regional Hospital. With the scale being ground level, Sasha Bloyer said it’s more accessible to patients who use a wheelchair.

“I would definitely say our goal is to meet each patient where they’re at in order to provide the best quality of care and quality of life,” Harmening said.

“Between the nurses, Alex, myself and Lynn, we really try to adjust things to make it fit for them so they can live as full lives as possible,” Bloyer said. “Dialysis can be challenging, so we like to make it as easy as it possibly can.”

Riesenberg said the unit has wonderful nephrologists who take of the patients, including Dr. Sameer Yaseen, Dr. Arani Navanti and Dr. Jennifer Thompson.

Front DeskThe front desk for St. Anthony Regional Hositap’s new dialysis unit, which is located on the first floor.

Patients often spend 15 hours a week at the dialysis unit, Riesenberg said. Given the amount of time they spend at the room, Riesenberg said they become like family.

However, Bloyer said they accommodate visitors who need their services, as well as helping coordinate care whenever their patients travel.

“If our patients want to travel, they let us know the dates, we contact dialysis units close to their location,” Bloyer said. “We do encourage traveling and vice versa, we accept visitors when they come.”

On Friday, June 9, the Carroll Chamber of Commerce hosted a Chamber Coffee at the new dialysis unit. Following the event, Riesenberg said it was wonderful to see community members visit and learn more about dialysis.

“I feel that the community really supports the hospital,” Riesenberg said.

Similarly, Riesenberg said the internal support from St. Anthony Regional Hopspital has allowed the dialysis unit to grow, whether it concerns funding, maintenaicne or IT.

“The hospital absolutely has been our backbone,” Riesenberg said.

Article provided by Carroll Times Herald, Sara Stortz, June 19, 2023


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