RBAC staff Amanda, David, and Mr.Davis recently attend the NW Kidney Center open house. At the open house they got to tour the center and view all of its innovative designs. At the open house, RBAC shared with them the community resources Rainier Beach has like the Light Rail and Via. This open house inspired us to sit down for an interview with Kristina Garnett the clinic manager at the Rainier Beach Kidney Center.
Here is some background about the kidney centers. The Northwest Kidney Center has 19 locations all in the Puget Sound area, 17 of which are in King County. They are the world’s first dialysis provider and they have been around since 1962. Before the clinic centers were created, when a person had chronic kidney disease there was no treatment for it. People just passed away. Now people can do dialysis treatments three times a week and stay alive. They can also learn how to do it at home, in which case they would do it every day. The NW Kidney Center teaches people who are interested in learning how to do it themselves at home.
It’s our hope to see the NW Kidney Center being used by community members, and for them to be able to take advantage of all the resources it provides. Kristina Garnett, who manages the center, describes how it works:
“The way it works (To be seen at a clinic) is if the primary physician, the regular family doctor, through laboratory tests or through examination that determines that a person has kidney disease, the doctor would refer that person to have a Kidney Specialist which is called a nephrologist. The Kidney Specialist will monitor that patient and treat that patient in hopes of preventing the kidney damage from getting worse, to the point of kidney failure. When a person goes into kidney failure that kidney can no longer do what they’re designed to do and that’s when the kidney doctor will refer them to Northwest Kidney Center.”
While kidney disease is a serious issue, we’re glad this center is here to provide treatment.
The NW Kidney Centers also offer classes. One class is called, “Eating Well, Living Well,” and that’s designed typically for people who have kidney disease and who are being treated by a kidney doctor and haven’t progressed to the point of needing dialysis. They learn about having a healthy lifestyle and why it’s important for them. There’s also a class called “Choices” designed for people who are a little bit further along but they don’t need that yet, but their kidneys are unfortunately getting worse and that class is to help people prepare ahead of time to determine what kind of treatment might be beneficial for them. Those classes are not available in the Rainier Beach Center yet, but will become available as interest in them grows.
Another thing RBAC hopes is that NW Kidney Center hires members from the surrounding community. They are currently hiring dialysis techs for their Rainier Beach location, and dialysis technology programs can be found at many local colleges. There aren’t any volunteer opportunities currently available at the Rainier Beach facility, but Syrenka Slettebak, the Manager of Community Programs says that could change in the future, as the patient population grows and needs arise.