Cape May County kidney dialysis patients who receive a specific type of treatment no longer have to be transfered to another hospital if they must stay overnight at Cape Regional Medical Center.

The hospital last month opened a peritoneal dialysis program for inpatient treatment. The program now allows those patients whose dialysis treatments are done through a less invasive method to stay at the hospital, when previously they were taken by ambulance to other hospitals.

"We are able to care for inpatients undergoing peritoneal dialysis in the convenience and comfort of our own community medical center," Gina McNeal, a registered nurse and member of Cape Regional's peritoneal dialysis team, said in a prepared release.

A specially trained peritoneal dialysis team, made of about 20 registered nurses and nephrologists, has been created.

Peritoneal dialysis is a less time-consuming and tiresome method of cleansing blood of the toxins normally removed by healthy kidneys than the traditional hemodialysis method. Many patients, including Ronald Mathis, are able to have their treatments at home.

Mathis, of North Wildwood, was diagnosed with kidney failure in 2008 and began receiving hemodialysis treatments, which uses a machine to cleanse the blood directly through a type of introvenous system. But in October 2012, Mathis began receiving peritoneal dialysis, which is done through a surgically implanted membrane in the abdoman.

But not all hospitals have the facilities to allow those patients to continue this type of dialysis treatment if they are admitted as an inpatient. Mathis previously would have had to travel by ambulance to another hospital, but that wasn't so when he recently was admitted to Cape Regional due to the new program. "Having the ability to stay at Cape Regional when I need hospitalization is such a great convenience and a huge relief," Mathis said.

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