Dialysis and the Dream Comes True – DialySpa

Updated 12/4/13:   The Mayo Clinic announced a new center that sounds like it’s in the same direction as Dialyspa.  I’ve contacted them for more information.  CLICK HERE to read their announcement.

A few months back, I was in Houston, Texas for a conference so I arranged to visit a recently completed Dialyspa center.  (Yes, you read it correctly… it’s Dialysis and spa… Dialyspa).  I wrote about them last year in “Dialysis and Dreaming”  and I went into more detail in “Dialysis and More Dreams”  Needless to say I was impressed by Dialyspa from the written materials and the photos but now I had a chance to see their center and meet their staff.

Dialysps Lobby 1I was exhausted when I got out of the car in front of the Dialyspa facility.   I had spent the day in a conference and was looking forward to getting home.  But as soon as I walked through the doors to the facility I was invigorated.  A very pleasant atmosphere greeted me.  It was more like walking into a inviting business office rather than a dialysis center.  The warm colors and attractive decor even included a fireplace, a chandelier and a guest’s workspace!  On the wall next to the fireplace is a plaque with a picture of Neill Simon and a copy of “Neill’s Deal” (the guiding document for the organization.

Dialyspa CoffeeImmediately to our right, however, was a coffee machine featureing Starbucks coffee and an ice machine that made ice according to the specifications of one of the Dialyspa founders Neill Simon; a dialysis patient.   I was told that these were placed there so visitors could have a nice cup of coffee or tea and patients, especially, could partake of the crushed ice before and during their sessions.  I asked, “How do the patients get the ice during their sessions?” and the answer came back immediately, “The staff will get it for them.”  That was the first of many questions I had and all were answered eagerly.

Dialyspa GroupThe enthusiasm of the Dialyspa staff for their new center was palpable.  Whatever lack of energy I might have had was eliminated by their joy at showing me their work.   David Ramirez, the Vice President of Facilities and Development (far left of the group in the photo) led the tour.  He was the major leader in the design on this center and, as we progressed, it was obvious he was intimate with every detail of this facility.  Also shown in the photo are Kim Coachman Communications Manager, Bridget Turpeau-Gallien Administrative Manager, and Paul Garney, MS, RD, LD Vice President of Compliance.

Dialyspa ReceptionThe first feature was the very inviting receptionist office shown in the photo.  What I appreciated was the natural light from the large windows, the indirect lighting on the floor and above the cabinets and the task lighting over the work areas. Everything was well lit without being annoying. Through the door next to the receptionist, we entered the treatment area.

My first concern was… the CHAIR.  I had to try it out, of course.  I noticed that, unlike the usual chair, this one was comfortable.  David informed me that it had more padding than usual and the covering was softer and more pliant than the typical chair.  He upgraded both padding and covering because, as he hardly had to explain to me, the patient spends considerable time in the char so it should be as comfortable as possible.   Gee!  Can you imagine that!?

Dialyspa ChairI sat in the chair and it was very comfortable.  Unlike the usual experience where I feel like I’m sitting IN the chair, this was a feeling of sitting ON the chair.  I wasn’t swallowed by it but, rather, I was supported by it.  As you can see in the picture, the chair has a nice, supportive back with a good pillow behind my head. With this chair, I wouldn’t have to bring a pillow with me! That would be nice.  The chair also had very adequate side-tables. and the leg/foot rest was also very nice.  All in all, the chair was just what David expected and designed; very comfortable

Sitting in the Dialyspa chair was a strange experience.  I’m still not sure of it.  I believe it was much more comfortable  than any other chair I’ve sat in for dialysis but maybe that was my mind and not my butt making that determination.   Perhaps I’ll go back to Dialyspa and investigate this some more or I might look for a time when I can sit in and compare a selection of chairs, like at a convention of something.  If I can work it out, I’ll dialyze at DialySpa someday and write about the experience.

Dialyspa  Water FilterThe tour included a visit to the water treatment room with some features that make it better than a typical system. In the picture, those two large tanks in the middle are optional.  Dialyspa uses one more filtration step than is required.  It means the water used in the dialyzer is of better quality than what Medicare requires.   (Imagine that!  Going above and beyond the Medicare requirements!?!)

Dialysipa Sample StnDavid was also quite proud to show me the Water Sampling Station he added.  In a typical room, the technician must go to several places in the room to get samples to be tested.  So, David created a Sampling station as shown in the picture (on the right) that allowed all the sampling to be done in one place.  Tubes carry the water to the station from the various locations.  A cart with all the necessary supplies is next to the sink.

What’s remarkable, again, about this water filtering is the additional filter step show in the picture above.  Those long white tubes in the center are one last filtration step. again not required by Medicare. They are pretty much the same as the dialyzer used in the machine for each patient.  So, the water is as pure as it can possibly be.

These are just a few of the features of Dialyspa; an innovative, imaginative organization where the patient comes first.  What a wonderful place and staff!  Thanks, y’all for the tour and for making me feel so welcome!

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About DevonTexas

I am a person with ESRD (End Stage Renal Disease) which means my kidneys don't work. Forty or so years ago that would have been a death sentence but today there is Dialysis which means I can be hooked up to a machine that will clean my blood as the kidneys should. Three days a week, I go to a center and have too very large needles stuck in my arm to remove and replace my blood as it passes through a process where it's cleaned and the fluid is removed, a process taking a little over four hours each time. I want to advance knowledge about dialysis so that other patients can learn from my experience and mistakes. We shouldn't have to reinvent the wheel, eh? There is so much to be learned and experienced about our predicament. There are vast resources available to support us and enrich our lives but many patients don't know about them. There are also many issues that we have to deal with whether we want to or not. So I blog about them. All comments are confidential until I approve them. If you don't want your comment public, let me know and I will respect that. So, feel free to leave a comment. Enjoy.
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12 Responses to Dialysis and the Dream Comes True – DialySpa

  1. Pat f says:

    I knew there were others like me! I blog on my iPad about my life ESRD life during dialysis during dialysis, MWF. I’m just a rookie though. Lol.

  2. kalipr says:

    A dialysis spa would be a wonderful thing! What increases in cost did you see for these services, and do they have any problem getting them covered by insurance?

    • DevonTexas says:

      Excellent questions! Here’s the wonderful thing about Dailyspa. There’s nothing Dialyspa is doing that is additional to providing dialysis services. They just do dialysis better. And for those things that are “extra” like the coffee and ice machines, that is part of Dialyspa’s expense. They are non-profit so they aren’t looking for ways to save money so the CEO can have a new jet to go to Super Bowl games with friends. Their CEO is a doctor who partnered with a patient to start it. They offer chairs with all the extras like padding, upgraded covering, massage, and heat. These cost more but because they are non-profit, it’s “affordable”. Likewise with the lighting that is indirect and unobtrusive. It cost more but it’s “affordable”. Likewise the additional water treatment features, the comfortable chairs and fireplace in the waiting room. They put comfortable chairs in the waiting room because they know some family members wait for the patients for as much as four hours. Can you imagine Davita of Fresenius making that observation and providing comfortable chairs in the waiting room?

      So the short answer is; they aren’t doing anything that isn’t covered by insurance and what isn’t covered is absorbed by their non-profit status.

  3. kalipr says:

    Marie (Re-Dial Diet) uses a Fresenius clinic, and you are right, the amenities there are non-existent. The waiting area is particularly Spartan, with a TV blaring at full volume. I wish Dailyspa would open in Austin!

    • kalipr says:

      Sorry, just realized I typed Dailyspa instead of Dialyspa.

    • DevonTexas says:

      Me Too! Except I wish it was in the Fort Worth – Mid-cities area! LOL I sense their business model is very good but it’s very expensive to open a new clinic. The Medicare certification is long due to a lack of technicians. It can take 18 months! Imagine a clinic sitting empty for that long! They can take private insurance but 85% of dialysis are Medicare.

  4. Pat says:

    DialySpa sounds like pure Heaven. We can’t even get any answers from our Nutritionist. As for coffee and water. You are kidding, I am sure. May I invite you to Cincinnati Ohio,

    • DevonTexas says:

      It’s scary how different the centers are in what they offer in services and amenities. Some off ice, water, coffee. Some have (as my friend Diana reports) game time, karaoke, bingo, DVDs, etc. Some have heated chairs, others have heated and massage chairs. The typical unit has few of those. I plan to write about this issue again because it makes no sense that there is such a disparity in equipment and services. There should be more similarity. Thanks for bringing that up.

  5. PatF says:

    My clinic has heated chairs, high def tvs with HD cable and coffee, but no ice. We even got new dialysis machines last year this time. The clinics I’ve visited in my travels don’t have the heated chairs, but they do have ice. They also have those tired hospital TVs. Everyone seems to have WiFi…and that’s all that really matters. 😉

  6. I have been on dialysis in New York (primarily), Florida, and now Georgia. Every center I have gone too has those 9in swivel tvs and uncomfortable chairs. I have never seen a ice maker or coffee machine, much less heated chairs. I bring my laptop and iPad to watch Hulu and Netflix, so WiFi is essential. The centers in NY provided blankets and sheets, but not in the south (i bring my own now anyway).

    Devon, I am sorry to hear that you aren’t a good candidate for a transplant. You say that you have made peace with dialysis, but you never know; I hope a transplant is still in your future. I have created a website that shares my story and hopefully will inspire more people to donate kidneys and get people off of dialysis. It’s called giveakidney.com. I hope you can check it out, give me some feedback, and possibly promote it on your blog. If it is ok with you, I would like to link to some of your blogs on my site and through Facebook.

    -Rashaan Alexander

    • DevonTexas says:

      Thank you for that information! It’s helpful for others to know the similarities and differences in centers. Many dialysis patients don’t travel.

      I will certainly check out your website. And, I pleased to have you reblog some of my posts but please provide links to my site in doing so. I will blog out yours so people know about http://www.giveakidney.com. Anything I can do to advance the idea of giving and receiving kidneys is a good thing! Thanks for visiting and reading my blog.

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