New bracelets protect 'Life Lines' for dialysis patients

Kamloops dialysis patient Helen Bertrand sports one of the new "Save the Veins" bracelets. The purple bracelets are the brainchi
Kamloops dialysis patient Helen Bertrand sports one of the new "Save the Veins" bracelets. The purple bracelets are the brainchild of Interior Health renal staff including Vascular Access Coordinator Teresa Rankin, pictured here, and Coordinator Angela Romyn.

For a dialysis patient, healthy veins are a life line. But sometimes when Renal staff plan to create a permanent vascular access (called  an AV fistula) to facilitate the necessary blood flow for hemodialysis, they find a patient’s veins have been damaged from previous IVs or lab work.

Renal staff have been working with Interior Health’s IV therapy team on ways to better preserve veins for these patients, and many of these strategies have been successful. Still, Interior Health Vascular Access Coordinator Angela Romyn wondered if there was more that could be done. In a great example of innovation and patient-centred thinking, she came up with the idea of Save the Veins bracelets. These are bright purple rubber bracelets similar to the popular “Livestrong” bracelets.

“We have had people ask about a bracelet and thought this would be an extra step to build awareness among patients and various hospital departments,” says Angela.

“This is a first in the province and when Angela shared this idea with the provincial group, they were really excited and would like to adopt it,” says Sue Bannerman, Interior Health Regional Director, Renal Program. “Like they say, good things come in small packages. This small thing could make a big difference to our renal patients.”

The bracelets are being distributed throughout Interior Health to all pre-dialysis and hemodialysis areas for patients who wish to wear one. “It is our hope that these bracelets will help with the flagging and education of pre-dialysis and hemodialysis patients and also empower patients in the protection of their own veins,” says Angela.

The bracelets are free of charge. They are not mandatory for patients to wear and they do not replace the BC Renal Agency wallet card.

For more information, contact Angela at angela.romyn@interiorhealth.ca, or 250-862-4189.