Dyalisis On The Rez
|Many of the dialysis patients are on the National Registry to receive a new kidney.|
The patients of the Sharps Unit of the Dialysis Management Group on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation have some things in common, but the collective denominator that brings these folks together at the break of a Badlands' dawn is kidney failure. Many of the patients are on the National Registry to receive a new kidney, but dialysis is necessary to prevent further damage and minimize dire consequences.
The facility is a new program partner of the Sioux Nation Relief Fund (SNRF) Program’s Healthy Living service. Healthy Living provides material items and supplies to partners to enhance their goals and objectives. The main goal of the Dialysis clinic: get patients in and treated! The Healthy Living service is one of the most frequently requested services. It is set up to support Program Partners' ability to encourage community members to participate in their programs and services, offering members the opportunity for self-improvement, life skills and personal growth. Through this service, SNRF supports Program Partners who are offering classes, home visits or assistance with appointments that help people with information regarding health or health related life topics.
For this healthy living site, client participation is lifesaving. Without dialysis, patients would not survive. The education provided by the nursing staff and technician strengthens clients’ abilities to know how to manage their medical needs and this information is paramount to their continued wellness. Healthy Living provides personal care products such as lotions and diabetes socks, just to name a few. By providing these basic items, patients save money for other essentials… like fuel to put in their cars to get to their appointments.
5:00 am may seem early, but not as early as the previous wakeup call these patients experienced when the nearest center was one to two hours away. The newly constructed facility is situated at a major crossroads on Pine Ridge and the location makes it much easier for those patients living on the eastern and central portion of the reservation to get to their thrice weekly appointments. Some patients drive themselves to the center and others are dropped off. There are others that have their spouses or family members remain in the waiting room for the three to four hours as their loved ones are being treated. Most of the female clients have a large carrying bag with items that will keep them busy during their four hour stay including puzzles, beading, and knitting. Others admit to finishing the sleep that was disrupted from the early morning rise or watching television.
|Sharps Unit of the Dialysis Management Group on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.|
The facility replaces the older dialysis unit in Porcupine which was closed down due to structural concerns. The Sharps Unit of the Dialysis Management Group opened just before Christmas in 2010 and is the first of its kind: a hemodialysis clinic that meets the most recent guidelines that was constructed on a reservation in the United States.
Most patients that we spoke to were thankful they didn’t have to make the 50 or 100 mile trek to Pine Ridge or Rapid City, respectively to get their three times a week treatments and all the patients were thankful for the items provided by SNRF to help manage their diabetes.