WALKER – It’s a new town and a new facility. And Angela Linder is fine with that, since it means she and her staff are serving their Livingston Parish patients locally.
Fresenius Kidney Care Walker, 29250 Walker South Road, held its ribbon-cutting on Thursday, Aug. 31, replacing the previous dialysis facility in Denham Springs damaged by the Great Flood of 2016.
“It’s so great. Walker’s resiliency is so great,” said Angela Linder, clinic manager and Walker native. “It’s a beautiful building. Our patients are happy to be at home, to stay in the community.”
Having the facility in Walker also will help serve the east side of the parish, she said.
Fresenius Kidney Care is the dialysis division of Fresenius Medical Care North America, which treats more than 180,000 patients with kidney disease at more than 2,300 facilities.
After the flood, “We needed a bigger and better building and made the move to Walker,” Linder said.
The clinic manger made her intentions clear to Fresenius Kidney Care.
“After the flood, I told them, ‘This is my clinic,’ ’’ Linder said, referring to the Walker facility.
The Great Flood of 2016 left from 3 to 5 feet of water in the previous building, Linder said.
“Everybody here flooded,” she said. “It took three days to get out and find a clinic to help.
“One of our nurses in the Denham Springs took some of the patients to her home,” Liner said, they helped relocate clients to the closest clinic to them.
“These people needed dialysis to live,” she said.
Dialysis is required for patients who develop end-stage kidney failure, typically 85 percent to 90 percent loss of kidney function.
The process is used to remove waste, salt and extra water in the body, and keep safe levels of potassium, sodium and bicarbonate in the blood and control blood pressure.
A typical client comes in three times a week for 3 to 5 hours, Linder said.
With the amount of time they spend with clients, relationships develop, according to Linder.
“We’re their second family,” Linder said. “They get used to seeing us Monday, Wednesday and Friday. We listen to what goes on in their lives.
And many of those conversations center on recovery from the flood.
“They talk about getting their cabinets today or getting out of their son’s house,” Linder said with a smile. “We’re a constant for them.”
The new facility has 16 chairs, each with vibrating massage and heat for the client, facing a series of flat screen TVs.
Linder said the clinic could potentially run three shifts and treat 48 people a day. The facility is now open three days a week, but could go to six days if there is the demand.
The facility has a staff of Linder, a secretary, nurse and three technicians, but could grow to 12. All live within seven miles of Walker, she said.
“Every day, a new patient comes in,” Linder said.
The clinic opened with eight patients and was up to 21 in 1½ weeks, she said
And with the brand new building comes the process of patient transfers, the clinic manager said.
“We’re busy, but it’s a good busy,” Linder said.
“This is good for Walker, good for the parish,” she said.
Several staff members are waiting for that “last thing” to complete restoration of their homes since the flooding, Linder said.
“Everyone has a story. And we share the stories, Linder said.
“Everyone was affected by the flood one way or the other. We’re all recovering together,’ she said. “It’s a nice support system.”
Kevin Fambrough is a reporter at the Livingston Parish News. He can be reached at email@example.com. You can follow him on Twitter at @fambroughkevin.