Contact: Laura Shea
Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center has been the center of kidney disease care in the North Country since the late 1960s when Claxton-Hepburn opened the first dialysis unit north of Syracuse. March is National Kidney Month, and Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center’s Dr. Ravinder N. Agarwal Renal Center is joining in the recognition campaign to help spread the message that kidney disease is manageable and that people on dialysis can live a near normal life. Dr. Michael Seidman, nephrologist at the Agarwal Renal Center stated, “We strive to make our patients’ lives as normal as possible. In patients with chronic disease that is life altering and permanent, an essential part of their care process is treating their medical issues, but most important is allowing them to lead an as normal life as possible.”
The Agarwal Renal Center is a patient-centered unit. Dr. Seidman stated, “Our patient-centered approach is important especially when people have life-changingend-stage renal disease. We try to engage patients at early stages of kidney failure so we can preserve kidney function and prevent progression onto end-state renal disease.” He continued, “And those that will go on to develop kidney disease, despite our best efforts end up with kidney failure and require dialysis; we attempt to make the transition as smooth as possible through our pre-education program.”
The Agarwal Renal Center has a care team that works with patients and their families to determine the best type of dialysis therapy for their kidney failure. The care team includes two full-time nephrology-trained physicians, Dr. Michael Seidman, and Dr. Manasvi Jaitly, a social worker, a dietitian, and two home care coordinators, a nurse manager, and a clinical coordinator, all with many years of experience in the dialysis field.
Rich Pandel, RN, director of the Agarwal Renal Center stated, “We are a very patient-oriented unit. We are not a part of a corporation as most dialysis facilities are. We remain an independent, not-for-profit program sponsored by Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center. That gives us room to innovate our treatment program and individualize care.” He continued, “We provide twenty-four-seven, back up for our patients, and one of our physicians is always on call and can admit our patients who need hospital care or emergent dialysis at Claxton-Hepburn. Patients do not have to leave their community to get care for kidney disease or when they need to be admitted to the hospital.”
Dr. Manasvi Jaitly stated, “We emphasize home dialysis. We feel this is best for the patient and gives us our best patient outcomes. Over 25% of our patients are on home programs, which include peritoneal dialysis and NXStage home hemodialysis.” He continued, “As compared nationally, we exceed the national average of 10% of renal patients on home programs.”
Another patient-centered approach the Agarwal Center promotes is their transient patient program. “This program supports our mission to allow our patients to live as healthy a lifestyle as possible”, said Dr. Jaitly. Steve Turcotte, LMSW at the Renal Center stated, “We try to do our best to accommodate our transient patients, any time of the year. Each year at this time, we send out communications to past transient patients and their centers welcoming them back. It’s important that our patients can enjoy family vacations in the North Country taking in all it has to offer.” The Center treats about 45 to 50 transient patients each year, equaling about 300 dialysis treatments.
Shown in the photo are Renal Center staff Lauri Wood, Michele Evans, Alison Felt, Rich Pandel, Vicki Bruyere, and Kim Davis.