Vidinha Trust helps St. Francis dialysis facility

LIHU‘E — A $60,000 grant from the Vidinha Charitable Trust will enable the St. Francis Renal Dialysis facility to procure and install a new and bigger Sani-pak, an on-site waste treatment system that processes biohazardous waste such as syringes and other used medical instruments in order for it to be disposed of to a landfill properly.

Greeted with leis, members of the Distribution Committee of the Vidinha Charitable Trust, Tad Miura, Jr, who is also the Chair of the Distribution Committee, and Phil Scott, presented the check to Saint Francis Healthcare System of Hawaii Chief Foundation Officer Eugene N. Tiwanak and Facility Nurse Manager Melanie Espino. Also present during this ceremony was Saint Francis Foundation Chair Kitty Woo, Foundation Board Member Sister Florence Remata, and Saint Francis’ Social Worker Jenny Potterton.

The Sani-pak that Saint Francis has now is almost 10 years old and holds approximately 300 pounds of waste a week. When the device is filled to its maximum capacity, the excess either is sent to Wilcox Hospital or shipped off-island to O‘ahu, where it costs more money.

“No reimbursement comes from the government,” says Tiwanak of the expenditures of Saint Francis Medical Center. “Expansion must come from fundraising.”

In this case, it came with help from a grant.

The medical center is a part of the Saint Francis Healthcare System of Hawaii, which provides acute care in services such as renal (kidney) dialysis, hospice, and home care. Saint Francis Healthcare provided the first home care agency in the state, its facility in Lihu‘e servicing 60 patients and its West Kauai facility providing services to 19 patients. Nurses are always on hand, working shifts from 4:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.

Having a dialysis center in Kaua‘i is essential because if it wasn’t present, patients would have to be sent off-island, making it a problem for friends and family to visit and making it a problem financially, Tiwanak said.

Additionally, St. Francis also gives dialysis services to transients such as tourists. Island visitors needing dialysis, therefore, need not take out Kaua‘i as a possible destination in their vacation plans due to need of medical access. And since a person needing dialysis can survive without it for only about two weeks, their length of stay here can be extended. St. Francis Medical Center is a part of the Renal Institute of the Pacific, which is the largest hospital-based provider of end-stage renal disease treatment in the United States.

Following the formal check presentation to St. Francis, the group adjourned to the conference room laden with refreshments and a specially-created cake which was ceremoniously cut by Miura, Scott, and Wo, the entire ceremony being enjoyed by St. Francis employees on O‘ahu via the medical facility’s state-of-the-art video conferencing equipment.

The Vidinha Charitable Trust is a local organization that donates money to four specific areas of the community * universities and colleges that provide scholarships for Kaua‘i students, churches, hospitals, and health organizations that provide benefits for Kaua‘i residents.

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