A new medical facility in Coronaca is offering people with severe kidney failure the freedom to spend more of their time how they want, rather than spending it in appointments.

On June 6, DaVita Home Dialysis opened a new facility in the Bi-Lo shopping center in Coronaca, at the intersection of S.C. Highways 221 and 246. The ribbon-cutting ceremony saw visits from state Sen. Floyd Nicholson, Greenwood County Councilwoman Edith Childs and a representative from state Rep. John McCravy’s office.

Joining clinics in Greenwood and Clinton, the Coronaca clinic exists to provide education for dialysis patients and train them to administer home dialysis.

“There’s more focus on home care now, when it comes to dialysis,” said Doug Golden, a staffer at the new clinic.

The clinic’s director, Yashekia Williams, said typically patients that come to them for services are at stage five kidney failure.

“What that means is the kidneys are working at less than 10 percent,” she said.

Dialysis takes over the kidneys’ role in filtering the blood to remove wastes, and for people with kidney failure they could require dialysis fairly frequently. Most of the clients that will be coming to this new facility will need peritoneal dialysis, a form of dialysis using a membrane inside the body as a filter for a solution that pulls waste from the blood.

“Patients will need peritoneal dialysis three to five times a week,” Williams said. “You see less hospitalization with home care. They lead a more interactive life, and they’re able to stay working.”

The facility has private rooms where a doctor or technician can help a patient through their dialysis and train them to be able to perform it themselves, at home. Williams said this allows patients a greater degree of freedom, allowing them to travel or spend their time how they see fit, since they aren’t as tied to appointments at a dialysis facility to have the procedure done by someone else.

Dr. Christine Murakami, the nephrologist who works as the site’s clinician, said a facility like this is a blessing for the area, relieving congestion at the Greenwood DaVita center and improving kidney disease education for the area.

“Kidney disease is a very rampant disease in the United States,” she said. “Most of the patients don’t have symptoms when they have kidney disease.”

She said many people think of kidney disease as a death sentence, which only emphasizes the importance of educating people about getting checked and exploring their treatment options. Kidney disease doesn’t mean patients have to give up hope or surrender their ability to enjoy life, Murakami said.

“To be able to give patients with end-stage kidney disease a few years of quality of life longer with their family, that means a lot to me,” she said. “As a nephrologist, we can give people hope.”

Staff at the new facility are pursuing training and certification in home hemodialysis, where a machine takes and filters blood directly, returning it into the body, said specialist Doug Golden. The facility doesn’t offer that service yet, but for now in offering peritoneal dialysis they’re providing a service the Clinton facility doesn’t have, he said.

The Coronaca facility cuts travel for people having to seek treatment in Greenville, and can relieve crowding at the Greenwood clinic, which has 34 patients right now, Golden said. Staff at these facilities aim to offer a safe and friendly environment for patients, along with 24/7 accessibility, even when patients are at home.

Contact staff writer Damian Dominguez at 864-634-7548 or follow on twitter @IJDDOMINGUEZ.