Renal News - Fall 2015
Renal News
 Fall 2015

AdobeStock_89423851.jpeg TB screening program underway


A provincial tuberculosis (TB) screening program was launched in September targeting all new dialysis patients in BC.

The first of its kind in Canada, the program is supported by the BC Renal Agency and the regional health authorities, in partnership with the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC). All new dialysis patients will complete a TB screening questionnaire, a chest x-ray and blood test (Interferon Gamma Release Assays – IGRA). These procedures will be done by staff at the hemodialysis in-centre programs and peritoneal dialysis programs for all new patients within the first week of their dialysis start.



NxStage roll-out


nxstageok.JPGThe NxStage home hemodialysis (HHD) machine is relatively new to Canada and was designed specifically for use by patients in the home. Following a successful pilot project, the BC Renal Agency and the provincial HHD committee have launched a phased implementation of NxStage, with the objective of supporting a two-machine model for home hemodialysis in BC (Gambro and NxStage). The overall goal is to support the expansion of HHD to a wider group of patients and to increase the number of patients benefiting from HHD in BC. 

A priority selection tool for determining which patients are most suitable for HHD using NxStage has been developed, and training on the system was started in August at Interior Health for both nurses and nephrologists. 

Since the launch of the BC home hemodialysis program in 2004, 500 patients have been trained to manage their hemodialysis treatments at home. Home hemodialysis therapies provide a number of benefits, including improved quality of life and better health outcomes.


mod choices.JPG Modality Choices training package

The Kidney Care Committee has completed work on a suite of standardized tools for educating patients with advanced kidney disease on their treatment options. 

The Modality Choices materials include a PowerPoint presentation for use by all kidney care clinic staff who provide patient training. The presentation, with embedded videos, gives a comprehensive overview of all patient options, including hemodialysis (independent and dependent), peritoneal dialysis, transplant and conservative care.



Data collection to support PD practice

A new module has been launched in PROMIS to support better understanding of the reasons for failure of peritoneal dialysis therapy for some patients, and to help in developing techniques for avoiding such failures.

The PD Exit Reasons module is designed to capture standardized data on why patients have ended their PD therapy. The data required by the module is aligned with international data collection efforts to identify and promote optimal techniques for PD therapy.  


Drug for PKD being assessed


pills wide.JPG 

The BC Renal Agency is developing a framework for considering new disease-modifying drugs expected to enter the Canadian market over the next few years.

Tolvaptan (Jinarc™) is an example of one such drug. Approved by Health Canada in February 2015, it is the first drug shown to slow the growth of kidney size in patients with autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (PKD). However, long-term studies are required to determine whether it prevents kidney failure related to PKD.



New head of provincial PD committee

suneetsingh_small.JPGIn July Dr. Suneet Singh was appointed medical director of the provincial PD committee by the BC Renal Agency.  She brings 15 years of PD clinical experience to the role. Click here to read Dr. Singh’s profile on the Renal Agency’s website. 


GN Committee update

The Glomerulonephritis Committee has been working to standardize care province-wide for patients with this relatively rare group of kidney diseases. Treatment protocols and other GN-related resources are available on the BC Renal Agency website

About 300 cases of GN are diagnosed in BC each year, making it the second most common cause of end-stage kidney disease in Canada. 

In April, the GN committee succeeded in having Tacrolimus, a generic form of an  immunosuppressant drug used to treat glomerulonephritis (GN), added to the provincial renal formulary. The use of generic drugs helps to reduce medication costs. And because all patients diagnosed with GN are now captured in the PROMIS database, their treatment outcomes with the new drug can be monitored, providing information on its relative safety and efficacy.

The data on GN patients provided through PROMIS also offers a valuable resource for research on the disease, and one that is unique in Canada.


St. Paul's HD team wins national award


The hemodialysis team at St. Paul’s Hospital received a national award for a care model redesign that has improved patient care and saved close to $700,000 in annual operating costs.

The St. Paul’s team was presented with the 3M Health Care Quality Team Award in June, at an event held in Charlottetown, PEI.



Presumed consent and organ donation


Submitted by BC Transplant 

“Presumed consent” is an idea that has recently gained some attention in BC. When made into law, presumed consent makes every person a candidate for organ donation at their time of death, unless they have registered their decision not to donate. (Presumed consent is sometimes also referred to as ‘opt-out’ because people are required to register their decision to opt-out of donating.) Many countries with a presumed consent model have higher rates of organ donation than Canada.

BC Transplant has recently been asked if presumed consent might be a solution to help increase donation rates in BC. Here are the agency’s answers to the most common questions.


Kidney Foundation Citizen's Leadership Award

Submitted by the Kidney Foundation of Canada, BC and Yukon Branch

The Kidney Foundation of Canada, BC & Yukon Branch has honoured British Columbia MLA Amrik Virk with a special Citizen’s Leadership Award for his efforts to increase organ donor awareness and registration across BC. 




TB screening program underway

NxStage roll-out

Modality Choices training package

Data collection to support PD practice

Drug for PKD being assessed

New head of provincial PD committee

GN Committee update

St. Paul's HD team wins national award

Presumed consent and organ donation

Kidney Foundation Citizen's Leadership Award

BC Kidney Days 2015


Over 450 people attended the annual BC Kidney Days conference, jointly hosted by the BC Renal Agency and BC Transplant in Vancouver October 1-2. Topics included frailty, anxiety and depression, pregnancy with CKD, hemodiafiltration, the role of media in improving health outcomes and a fistula first debate.

Video and audio of the plenary and concurrent sessions are available here.  

To see the recipients of the poster presentation awards, check out the BCKD website.

If you attended BCKD, please share your feedback through our online evaluation survey. Your input helps us improve the event. The survey closes October 9th.


New leader for PROMIS

cam melvin.JPG 

The PROMIS team has a new director of operations. Cam Melvin joined the team in September and will be responsible for the overall development and innovation of PROMIS. 




Adeera Levin honoured


BC Renal Agency executive director, Dr. Adeera Levin was appointed to the Order of Canada on July 1 – Canada Day – in recognition of her tireless work, in BC, Canada and internationally, on behalf of people with kidney disease.

Adeera has close to 300 publications in peer-reviewed journals and has mentored a generation of researchers, academics and clinicians in the field of nephrology. In addition to her leadership role with the BC Renal Agency, Adeera is current president of the International Society of Nephrology. 


Save the date for Western Canada PD Days

wcpdd 25 yr header.JPG 

The 25th annual WCPD conference will be held at the Pinnacle Harbourfront Hotel Vancouver on March 31st - April 1st, 2016. The event is a showcase for innovative projects and cutting-edge approaches to the delivery of peritoneal dialysis care.

Detailed program and registration details will be available early in 2016 at

PD online training materials


A full suite of new patient training materials focused on peritoneal dialysis is nearing completion and will soon be available from the BC Renal Agency website.

Click for more...


Change Day in BC



The day of change is fast approaching. Have you made your pledge? Do it today!



BCPRA patient handouts in the Maritimes


The BC Renal Agency’s medication information handouts are now being used in New Brunswick with kidney patients in that province. 

This summer the Renal Agency was contacted by a pharmacy intern at Saint John Regional Hospital who had discovered the medication handouts on the agency website.





CANNT Conference


The 2015 conference of the Canadian Association of Nephrology Nurses and Technologists is being held in Vancouver, October 22-24. For more information, click here.

New on our website

The BC Renal Agency website is continually being updated with new information and resources for care providers and patients.

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to get real-time updates when new or updated resources are added to our website.


For now, here is a list of some recently posted resource materials: 




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