Kidney dialysis can be time consuming and uncomfortable. But that could change for some patients, now that a provincial program helping people to do dialysis at home is looking to expand.
It's called the Peritoneal Dialysis Community Care Program and it helps people use a machine that works while they sleep.
In the past, patients would have to be totally independent to do this kind of dialysis themselves.
Patients like 82-year-old Werner Peters. The busy man and his wife Eileen spend their time meeting friends for coffee, volunteering in their community, and recently they travelled to Saskatchewan for a family reunion.
"If I wouldn't tell them I was on dialysis then they wouldn't know," said Werner.
The machine he uses stays in his home but it's portable.
Peters said when he got it about 3 years ago, it changed his life.
"I am now free to do anything I want during the day."
After his kidneys failed three and a half years ago, he had to go to the hospital for a three hour hemo dialysis procedure, three times a week.
"It really was rather burdensome, the whole procedure," he said.
In Manitoba there are close to 300 people using peritoneal dialysis on their own.
"I think we did it for about 6 months on our own. But I was concerned I couldn't help him enough," said Werner’s wife Eileen.
Peters now has a nurse from the Peritoneal Dialysis Community Care Program come every night to help.
It's program that's ready to take on more patients.
"Patients who may have had to go to the hospital three times a week can now have the option of doing it at home," said April Bertrand, the program manager.
Right now she said the program has 30 patients and it's ready for 10 more inside Winnipeg.
Bertrand also said they're looking at getting into personal care homes and rural communities.
“There's some fear around it, the supports aren't as close to home, so how do we bring those supports to them?" she said.
One of the most noticeable differences for Peters is his diet.
He used to have to avoid foods high in potassium, like bananas and sandwich meat, now he can eat whatever he wants.
"Now I can have all the Häagen-Dazs ice cream I want.”
The Winnipeg Regional Health Authority's Manitoba Renal Program has been offering PD for decades, but the Peritoneal Dialysis Community Care program started in 2015. Now that the program has been established it is starting to take on more patients and is looking to expand as needed.