News

First Pediatric Dialysis Unit in Valley Now Open
January 19, 2018

Allentown, Pa. — St. Luke’s University Health Network (SLUHN) and DaVita Kidney Care, a division of DaVita Inc. (NYSE:DVA) and a leading provider of kidney care services, will host an open house debuting the first pediatric dialysis unit in the Lehigh Valley.

All members of the community and media are welcome to attend the open house, which will be held on January 18 from 4 to 6 pm at St. Luke’s Allentown Home Training, 1901 Hamilton Street in Allentown. Light refreshments will be served.

“We are extremely proud of the partnership between St. Luke’s University Health Network and DaVita Kidney Care to design and develop this unique home pediatric dialysis facility,” said Martin Schreiber, chief medical officer of home therapy for DaVita. “This facility offers patients and families a fresh approach to treat kidney failure, for our youngest patients, within the comfort and security of their own home.”

The new pediatric dialysis unit is located in the St. Luke’s Allentown Home Training center, a 10,000-square-foot facility. The center has a separate entrance for children and their families, and features two dedicated training suites for pediatric dialysis education and support.

Visitors to the open house will also have the opportunity to meet Tecile Andolino, MD, the Lehigh Valley’s only pediatric nephrologist, and members of the pediatric DaVita dialysis care team, who will train families in administering dialysis treatments for their children and provide them with ongoing support.

With the launch of its pediatric dialysis unit, SLUHN is empowering local families to administer their children’s dialysis treatments at home, where patients may be more comfortable and experience less disruption in daily schedules.

“We are excited to offer this treatment modality to the pediatric population here in the Lehigh Valley,” says Dr. Andolino, the unit’s medical director. “Patients who carry a diagnosis of kidney failure used to have to travel long distances to have this service provided. Opening this pediatric dialysis center here in the Lehigh Valley gives families the ability to have one of the many facets of their care take place closer to home under the guidance of our outstanding team.” 

The unit will educate patients ages 6 to 18 and their families on how to use a cycler machine, which is a little larger than a home printer, to administer peritoneal dialysis treatments at home.

With peritoneal dialysis, a cleansing fluid flows through a catheter that’s implanted into the child’s abdomen and filters waste products from his or her blood. Using this method, treatments can be completed while, for example, the child is doing homework, watching television or sleeping.

Once trained, families can dialyze patients daily at home. This is a crucial aspect of a daily treatment schedule – as opposed to an interrupted schedule where patients receive dialysis only several times a week – and may be a better option for some patients because it most closely mimics normal kidney function. 

After training, patients and their care partners will visit the pediatric dialysis unit once a month for assessments, blood work, and review of their home flow sheets to help make sure patients are able to experience the maximum effectiveness of the treatments.

St. Luke’s Allentown Home Training’s pediatric dialysis unit is open and accepting new patients. For more information or to make an appointment, call 610-776-1479.

About St. Luke’s

Founded in 1872, St. Luke’s University Health Network is a fully integrated, regional, non-profit network providing services at nine hospitals and nearly 300 outpatient sites.  With annual net revenue of $1.7 billion, the network’s service area includes 10 counties: Lehigh, Northampton, Carbon, Schuylkill, Bucks, Montgomery, Berks and Monroe counties in Pennsylvania and Warren and Hunterdon counties in New Jersey. Dedicated to advancing medical education, St. Luke’s is a major teaching hospital – the only one in the Greater Lehigh Valley.  In partnership with Temple University, St. Luke’s created the region’s first and only regional medical school campus.  It also operates the nation’s longest continuously operating School of Nursing, established in 1884, and 23 fully accredited graduate medical educational programs with 189 residents. Repeatedly, including 2017, St. Luke’s earned Truven’s 100 Top Major Teaching Hospital and 50 Top Cardiovascular Program designations, in addition to other honors for clinical excellence.  St. Luke’s, utilizing the EPIC electronic medical record (EMR) system, is a multi-year recipient of the Most Wired award recognizing the breadth of St. Luke’s information technology applications such as telehealth, online scheduling and online pricing information.  St. Luke’s is also recognized as one of the state’s lowest cost providers.

About DaVita Kidney Care
DaVita Kidney Care is a division of DaVita Inc., a Fortune 500® company, that through its operating divisions provides a variety of health care services to patient populations throughout the United States and abroad. A leading provider of dialysis services in the United States, DaVita Kidney Care treats patients with chronic kidney failure and end stage renal disease. DaVita Kidney Care strives to improve patients' quality of life by innovating clinical care, and by offering integrated treatment plans, personalized care teams and convenient health-management services. As of September 30, 2017, DaVita Kidney Care operated or provided administrative services at 2,470 outpatient dialysis centers located in the United States serving approximately 196,000 patients. The company also operated 230 outpatient dialysis centers located in 11 countries outside the United States. DaVita Kidney Care supports numerous programs dedicated to creating positive, sustainable change in communities around the world. The company's leadership development initiatives and social responsibility efforts have been recognized by Fortune, Modern Healthcare, Newsweek and WorldBlu. For more information, please visit DaVita.com.

St. Luke’s Media Contact

Sam Kennedy, Corporate Communications Director, 484-526-4134, samuel.kennedy@sluhn.org

DaVita Kidney Care Media Contact

Alicia Patterson, Communications Manager, 303-876-698, alicia.patterson@davita.com