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May 19, 2021

The Government of Alberta’s $1.5 Million Grant Provides Kidney and Transplant Patients in Alberta with Critical Financial Supports

Receiving a diagnosis of kidney disease and organ failure adds an immense emotional, mental, and physical strain for patients and their families. A diagnosis also includes costly financial pressures.

“People diagnosed with kidney failure require dialysis, a lifesaving treatment until they receive a transplant” explains Flavia de la Fuente, Executive Director for The Kidney Foundation Northern Alberta and The Territories Branch. “But dialysis is a double edge sword. Treatment is needed to survive, but managing kidney failure and dialysis comes with a high cost as patients need to travel to treatment centres, and require new medications. They also need to adhere to strict renal diets, require medical equipment, and so much more. Unfortunately, dialysis is typically accompanied by loss of income,” explains de la Fuente.

The 3-year, $1.5 million grant will help provide critical support for core Kidney Foundation Programs. The renewed grant makes strategic alterations to the programs to provide more support to patients when they need it most.
  • Dialysis Transportation Program: Provides financial assistance to patients travelling more than 40 km one-way for dialysis treatment. For patients living outside of urban areas, this financial support is significant. In 2020, patients accessing this program travelled on average 250 km one way to access dialysis treatment.
  • Home Hemodialysis Utility Grant (HUG) Program: Reduces the financial pressures experienced by home hemodialysis patients as the program helps offset the water and electricity costs associated with home treatment. A 2017 study showed that the out-of-pocket expenses for home treatment were almost $1300 annually.
  • Living Organ Donor Expense Reimbursement Program (LODERP): Provides financial reimbursement to living kidney, liver and lung donors for costs associated with the living organ donor process, including expenses assocated with travel, accommodation, meals, parking, and loss of wages. The goal of this program is to decrease financial barriers for living organ donors to help save the lives of Albertans.
“The pandemic has impacted all Albertans, and the effect has been especially challenging on Albertans who are diagnosed with organ failure. Ultimately, our goal is to improve donation rates and save every life possible. This investment will provide necessary supports to those Albertans who need lifesaving treatments, as well as those who choose to become living donors,” says Tyler Shandro, Minister of Health.

Each Branch of Kidney Foundation in Alberta will continue to administer these programs as demand persists due to the impact of the global pandemic.  “We are most grateful for the support shown by the Alberta Government” added Joyce Van Deurzen, Executive Director, Kidney Foundation Southern Alberta Branch.

“The support provided by The Kidney Foundation literally saved my life” explains a hemodialysis patient. “It was the best support I received. I had nowhere else to turn, and my money was gone until my next paycheque.” An individual travelling for treatment shared “I cried when I received the gas gift cards because it meant I wouldn’t miss my treatment.”

A living organ donor added “It’s been such a crazy year.  I am grateful that I was in a position to help a baby and we both are doing well.  The donation process has been such an amazing experience and everyone who have supported me through this process have been so helpful and amazing.”

“Patients are at the core of all we do. We are immensely pleased the government showed leadership on this important file. Patient lives will be saved because of these programs” said de la Fuente and Van Deurzen.

For more information, please contact:

Flavia de la Fuente
Executive Director
The Kidney Foundation of Canada, Northern Alberta and The Territories Branch

Michelle Hofer
Community Development Coordinator
The Kidney Foundation of Canada, Southern Alberta Branch

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