Posted: March 26, 2016

Grand River Hospital (GRH) is celebrating national kidney month and patient advocate, Rosemary Lejeune, is marking almost a decade of excellent kidney health since transplantation.

Rosemary, a former kidney patient and current patient advocate at GRH, began receiving care from the pre-dialysis clinic in 1992 and eventually transitioned to peritoneal dialysis (PD) in 1999.

“When I first began dialysis, I was petrified. No one wants to be on dialysis. I thought my life would totally change…but it didn’t thanks to the staff at GRH,” says Rosemary.

PD is continuous all day dialysis from the comfort of your home. After in-hospital training, PD allows patients to increase their independence and have a greater degree of control over their disease and treatments.

PD meant Rosemary could still work and take part in the activities she enjoyed.

“I wouldn’t have done it without the support of the nurses at GRH. They were just one phone call away. There was so much to learn and I knew I could trust them,” says Rosemary.

GRH’s regional renal program provides a full complement of care staff to address and support the needs of our patients.

“Whether it was the nurses, dietitians, or pharmacists, all of them I could speak with at any time. I felt like I wasn’t on my own,” says Rosemary. “They became like friends and they always went out of their way for me. Every member of the care team wanted me to succeed so that I could live my life to the fullest.”

In 2007, after eight years on dialysis, Rosemary travelled to Hamilton where she successfully received a kidney transplant. Since then, she knew she wanted to become involved in the kidney care system.

“I helped start the renal community council at GRH so that people like myself could have an effective means to communicate with the care providers in the hospital and enhance the care provided,” says Rosemary.  

Rosemary also became involved in peer support through the Kidney Foundation. The support group meets once a month at GRH’s Freeport Campus and supports patients in the region who are newly diagnosed with kidney disease.

GRH’s regional renal program provides care to more than 3,000 patients with kidney disease and 60,000 hemodialysis treatments each year. Our satellite clinics at GRH’s Freeport Campus, and in Guelph and Palmerston, treat patients closer to home so they can spend more time doing what they enjoy.

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