AFTER close to a decade of campaigning Cooma Hospital’s new renal dialysis unit is open, with the first patients using the facility on Monday.
Patients were previously forced to travel three times per week to Queanbeyan for dialysis treatment, a journey no longer required, much to the delight of Nurse Unit Manager Sharon Bennett.
“It’s very exciting the unit has opened, we started with three patients who are very relieved to not be travelling to Queanbeyan today,” Ms Bennett said.
“Four of our patients were making the trip to Queanbeyan which took three days out of their week as they underwent four or five hours treatment in addition with the drive.”
The unit's official opening has been delayed until September, however three patients received treatment from Monday, August 11. After nearly a decade of community campaigning the $1.7 million facility is home to four treatment chairs, with room for an additional four.
"The Monaro Renal Dialysis Group has been the community force behind the unit . It's been a long time in the making, one of our patients has been campaigning for ten years," Ms Bennett said.
"The unit is pretty much what I was hoping for, it is exciting it has finally happened.
"We're really lucky to do this in Cooma and it will benefit the people in town and the surrounding regions who no longer have to travel to Quenbeyan or Canberra for treatment."
The modern facility is furbished with the latest equipment in treating kidney disease and offers patients a scenic setting while they undergo hours worth of treatment.
"The unit is lovely, the sun streams in and it makes the patient's time here a little more bearable," Ms Bennett said.
"It has been functioning quite well and there was an emphasis on design, with plenty of windows put in."
The unit currently has five patients on its books who will be looked after by two nurses. There are four nurses attached to the unit who will be rostered on to provide much anticipated local dialysis treatment.
Two days in, Ms Bennett said the new unit has already gone a long way to putting the patients at ease whilst they undergo dialysis treatment.
"The feedback is that they are all really happy to not be travelling. Also they are pleased with the setting and overall design of the unit."