Doors open March 4 to Enumclaw dialysis clinic

After spending more than $2 million to renovate and equip a vacant building fronting state Route 410, the Northwest Kidney Centers will open the doors to its Enumclaw dialysis clinic Monday morning.

The Enumclaw center will be the 15th for the 51-year-old, nonprofit healthcare provider.

It was more than a year ago that the Northwest Kidney Center made public its plan to take over a building formerly occupied by the U.S. Forest Service on the east side of town.

The Enumclaw center will make life easier for area patients who have been traveling to dialysis centers in Auburn, Puyallup, Tacoma or Gig Harbor. Patients receive treatment three days a week, with each session lasting three to four hours.

Dialysis replaces the function of healthy kidneys for those with chronic kidney failure, using a machine to filter wastes and extra fluid from the bloodstream. Without dialysis or a kidney transplant, the patients would not survive more than a week or two. With dialysis, medications and a healthy lifestyle, many can live well indefinitely.

The Enumclaw site has five dialysis stations, with an ability to serve up to 30 patients daily. The center will operate long hours, six days a week, to accommodate a variety of personal schedules. It will be open from 5 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday and 5 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.

Northwest Kidney Centers also offers a renal specialty pharmacy and free prescription delivery to patients. It provides an array of classes for people who have just learned their kidneys are failing, to help them delay or avoid the need for dialysis.

Northwest Kidney Centers is one of very few community-based, nonprofit dialysis providers in the country. Founded in 1962 in Seattle, it was the first out- of-hospital dialysis program in the world, and it is still a model in the field.

One in seven American adults has chronic kidney disease, up 30 percent in the last decade.

In charge of the Enumclaw center will be Dr. Vilma Quijada, who serves as medical director; Sheila Bennett, clinical director; and Debra Marcella, nurse manager. Quijada is also medical director for Northwest Kidney Centers Renton and formerly served the same function in Kent. Bennett has worked for Northwest Kidney Centers since 1983 as a staff registered nurse, supervisor, manager and clinical director overseeing multiple dialysis centers – currently Enumclaw, SeaTac and West Seattle. Marcella is responsible for day-to-day patient care and has worked at Northwest Kidney Centers since 2003 when she became a staff registered nurse in Renton.

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