NEWARK — Wayne County’s first-ever dialysis center has opened in the village.
“There’s a need. Wayne County is a big county, and it’s never had a dialysis center,” said Dr. Shehbaz Rehmani, medical director at the new West Shore Dialysis Center. “It’s state-of-the-art. There’s nothing like it in all of New York state and the U.S.”
The new center, at 305 West Short Blvd., opened officially on Aug. 12, but has been years in the making. Rehmani said they began discussing the idea about five years ago with the growing need for dialysis services the driving force behind the idea.
Rehmani, a nephrologist, has an office at the Clifton Springs Hospital, where patients diagnosed with kidney disease are typically sent. He also operates the Eastview Dialysis Center in Victor. Rehmani said patients are monitored, often for years, and measures are taken through medication and healthy living techniques to keep the kidneys as healthy as possible for as long as possible. It is not until patients reach the fifth stage of kidney disease — when kidney failure is below 15 percent — that they become eligible for dialysis.
Some 20 million people have kidney problems in the U.S., with 100,000 in the Rochester region, Rehmani said. There are over 1,000 patients on dialysis in the Rochester region and about half of those require treatment due to diabetes, he added. There are over 100 dialysis patients in Wayne County alone. Diabetes is now the No. 1 cause of kidney disease, followed by hypertension and then smoking.
“Diabetes is becoming an epidemic,” Rehmani said. “So kidney disease is becoming more prevalent.”
Most dialysis patients drive at least an hour one way to the nearest the dialysis center in Victor or Rochester. Add to the drive three treatments a week, each of which lasts about four hours. and it became clear that these patients needed an alternative location, Rehmani said. In searching for the right location, Rehmani said they used patient zip codes to find a central spot and then explored each potential location’s water supply and infrastructure. Newark met their every need, and local officials have been wonderful to work with, he said.
Construction started in January on property that is part of the Land for Jobs program. The dialysis center must meet specific requirements to make the property their own through the program. Inside, the facility has 14 chairs, as approved by the Department of Health, and two home therapy rooms where patients can learn more about other options available to them for home treatment. The building also has a water-purifying system capable of handling 12,000 gallons of water. Each patient requires 100 liters of water per treatment, called hemodialysis. In an average day, the center will use 8,000 gallons of water.
Of particular interest, the new center offers hemodialysis at home. The center provides all the equipment and trains the patient on how to use it. They also work with the patient until he or she is comfortable enough to do the treatment alone, although monthly appointments at the center are scheduled to monitor “hemo at home” patients, Rehmani said.
Most patients are referred to the center by doctors, and new patients are welcome to come take a tour of the facility. Dialysis schedules are Monday, Wednesday and Friday or Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday at the center, which opens at 5 a.m. daily. For a tour, call 331-2472.
Rehmani encourages people to be proactive to prevent the onset of kidney disease through healthy living, diet and exercise and smoking cessation. He is accepting new kidney disease patients at his Clifton Springs office. Call 462-6500 to schedule an appointment.