A Bethlehem dialysis facility hosted an open house Tuesday to highlight the treatment options and services the organization can provide people in need of kidney disease care.
Fresenius Kidney Care, the dialysis division of Fresenius Medical Care North America, has more than 2,000 facilities throughout the nation and recently opened Fresenius Kidney Care Southside Dialysis in Lehigh Valley Industrial Park VII at 1005 Harvard Ave.
Sharon Friedel, director of operations at the Bethlehem site, led a tour of the facility and shared details of the services it offers. The facility includes a clinic, space for home therapy patients and lab and medical prep rooms, she said.
“We have 16 regular stations [in the clinic] and an isolation room,” Friedel said. “We could do up to three shifts a day, taking care of 102 patients.”
Hours are 6 a.m.-5 p.m., and many patients visit the clinic several times a week, she said.
Fresenius Kidney Care has another facility on City Line Road in Bethlehem. The new facility can take some of the overflow of patients from that site, she said.
The South Side Bethlehem center has six employees and could have up to 30 once fully operational, Friedel said.
Fresenius also manufactures dialysis machines and sells them to competitors, Friedel said. The equipment can cost $20,000 to $30,000.
The facility also has a water filtration system in a separate room that staff monitors so it can safely deliver dialysate, the fluid that dialysis patients need.
The South Side Bethlehem facility also has an area for home therapy patients who visit for services once a month, she said.
Essentially, when people get kidney disease, there are four options. Patients can opt to receive no treatment, get a kidney transplant, decide to have treatment at the center or treatment at home, she said.
Diabetes, hypertension and hereditary diseases all are risk factors that can cause kidneys to fail, she said.
Overall, Friedel said, the center offers the community more services for kidney care, helping empower patients to lead full lives, noting that patients are living a lot longer today.
“We take pride in what we call superior care,” Friedel said. “For them to come here three times a week, it’s like a part-time job for them. We build that relationship.”
SAGE Design-Build Inc. of Upper Macungie Township built the shell of the building and ECC Group Inc. of Lodi, N.J., was the construction firm that completed the interior, she said.