Focus put on home treatment for dialysis dilemma

NORWICH – Two options currently exist for Chenango County’s approximately 45 patients in need of dialysis care: Traveling about an hour three times a week to a renal care center or beginning a relatively new home-based treatment.

With equipment and nephrologist services costing upwards of $1 million, the staff at United Health Services’ Chenango Memorial Hospital is focusing on the latter.

According to Dr. Drake M. Lamen, president of the Norwich-based hospital, experts have predicted that the majority of renal care will be performed at home within the next 10 to 20 years. “At a time when things are turning toward home treatments, our resources might better be spent educating the public in that regard,” Lamen said.

In response to letters to The Evening Sun that have lamented the lack of local services, hospital officials say they researched the feasibility of basing a renal care unit locally, but ultimately found the investment cost-prohibitive. Public Relations Director Gary Root said the small number of CMH’s dialysis patients - about 12 - doesn’t make the issue any less important, however. “We are doing whatever we can to provide home-treatment education,” he said.

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