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Union Gap dialysis center celebrates open house

UNION GAP - Davita is a national dialysis facility that just recently opened two new facilities in the greater Yakima area, including one in Union Gap, along Ahtanum Road.

Maureen Ritter, administrator of Davita's Union Gap dialysis center which opened June 7, explained that there are changes on the horizon when it comes to dialysis care in the Yakima Valley. She said the Mt. Adams Kidney Center in Zillah is in the process of closing, noting that patients from the center are being invited to take advantage of the Union Gap facility.

Ritter explained that it doesn't mean Lower Valley residents who currently receive treatment in Zillah will always have to make the long drive to Union Gap. She said Davita is currently in the process of building a new dialysis facility in Sunnyside.

"We're serving patients who want to come here," she said.

Ritter noted that the Yakima facility is beginning to fill up, which points to the need for dialysis care in the Valley.

"We're very happy to be able to provide the service," she said.

According to Ritter, the Union Gap dialysis center is currently serving up to 24 patients a day and is open Monday, Wednesday and Friday. She said by July 12 they are hoping to have the facility open Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, as well. Ritter explained that dialysis patients need to receive treatment every other day.

"Eventually we'll only be closed on Sundays," Ritter said.

Cindy Peace with Davita said the new facility in Union Gap is using the newest dialysis machines. She noted that the machines are set up to provide treatment right at the patient's side.

According to Peace, on average patients receive four hours of dialysis treatment depending on their body size, type and their doctor's prescription. She added that there is also some prep time that is involved.

"Patients are usually with us four or five hours," Peace said.

It's in that amount of time that Peace said the staff of the dialysis facility has a chance to really get to know their patients.

"The staff and the families really become a part of each other," Peace said.

She said besides spending time with the patients and their families when they are receiving care, Davita staff will also organize special patient events, like picnics and monthly parties.

"We have a really great staff," Peace said.

According to Ritter, the staff is comprised of registered nurses, patient care technicians, and others, including a doctor.

. Elena Olmstead can be contacted at (509) 837-4500, or e-mail her at eolmstead@eaglenewspapers.com

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