CLINTON — After 25 years, Mercy’s Dialysis Unit has grown and improved to help provide better service to patients in the Clinton area.

The current unit has 13 stations and steadily treats 60 or so patients at a time. Mary Lincoln, Dialysis director, said the center has come a long way since it first opened. Lincoln said as time has gone by, technology has improved, which is allowing the center to provide top of the line service to its patients.

Before Mercy opened its own dialysis unit, patients in the Clinton area would have to travel to another city to receive treatment. Lincoln said if a patient arrived at Mercy and needed dialysis, they would have to then travel elsewhere, which increases a patient’s risk for infection. Having a local center means convenience for patients who live in the Clinton area as well as a lower risk for infection.

The unit started out with just five stations operating three days a week. They have expanded over time to their 13 station unit that is now open Monday through Saturday.

Dialysis treatment is often necessary for patients whose kidneys aren’t filtering blood adequately. This treatment is when a machine is used to remove waste products and excess fluids from the body. For those in kidney failure, without this treatment, waste products build up in the blood. Dialysis allows patients in kidney failure a chance to live a quality and productive life. Patients at Mercy receive treatment at least three times each week for a duration of three and a half to four hours.

This center now provides over 9,500 treatments per year. With six full time techs and five nurses, patients are able to get to know those who are treating them. Lincoln said this helps build that relationship and provide better quality care. If a patient has something go wrong and ends up in the hospital, they can still work with the same nurses and techs for their treatment. Lincoln said having a familiar face can be a comforting perk.

Within the last 10 years the center has progressed with the help of technology and now has a portable unit. This means if a patient is actually admitted to the hospital, the portal unit can come to them. Lincoln said prior to this technology, a patient would have to be ship out to another hospital.

“It’s a huge benefit for patients and their family to stay in town and it’s safer if they aren’t transporting,” Lincoln said.

In addition to providing dialysis treatments, the unit and staff hold patient education sessions each month. These interactive sessions help patients learn things like fluid control, healthy diets, medical terminology, emergency preparedness, and more. Lincoln said the medical terminology session is beneficial because patients can understand more of what is being said to them.

Lincoln said the high quality service that the Mercy Dialysis Unit provides is what has helped them be successful. She said her staff works as a team to provide compassionate care to all patients. Lincoln said because of that, she has not had any complaints from patients, or any infection outbreaks.

“We have the best there is,” Lincoln said.

But Lincoln isn’t going to stop there. The unit has added technology and made progress the last 25 years but Lincoln has another goal in sight. She would like to have everything change over to an electronic format. Right now, Lincoln said they are working in that direction but still use paper for part of their process.

With these advancements and goals Lincoln has set, she is positive the five star center will stay ranked and continue to provide patients with the best care possible.