Improving access to care with the help of community partners

kidney dietitian Lacey Tygerson
Registered dietitian Lacey Tygerson leading a nutrition class.

A three-year $5 million grant from Premera Blue Cross has helped Northwest Kidney Centers extend important kidney-health care to the community. Since receiving the grant in 2020, we’ve increased the number of health education classes across Puget Sound and expanded our home dialysis program.

Our free nutrition classes teach people about lifestyle changes that help them avoid kidney disease or slow its progression. Other classes educate patients about different dialysis treatment options to help identify the best treatment option to meet their needs. Classes also support a smooth transition to dialysis.

  • Eating Well, Living Well nutrition classes saw a 21% increase in attendance — 529 patients and family members learned how their diets impact their kidneys.
  • Choices classes grew by 16% — 701 patients and family members gained access to information about treatment options before dialysis becomes necessary. Currently, most people learn they have kidney disease in the emergency room or hospital.
  • Next Step classes increased by 37% — 258 patients and family members explored transplants and the different types of dialysis that are available, such as home and peritoneal dialysis.

Since 2020, the number of patients dialyzing at home grew by 24%, from 265 to 328. Grant support allowed us to bolster home nursing staff and to invest in technology and other home program infrastructure. Home dialysis patients often have better outcomes and live longer than in-center patients. Many patients also find that home dialysis is more convenient and gives them more independence and flexibility. Thorough training is provided to home patients as well as ongoing support from dedicated clinical care teams.

Northwest Kidney Centers is thankful for community partners like Premera Blue Cross for making it possible to deliver compassionate, dignified care.