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Sunday, April 18, 2021

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DaVita Kidney Care: Giving Light and Life to the Vulnerable

Davita nurse

DaVita Kidney Care’s mission of helping people towards better health has never been more obvious than during the coronavirus pandemic. 

Its health care professionals remain are on the front lines providing dialysis treatments to over 200,000 End-stage Renal Disease patients worldwide, some of whom are COVID-19 positive. There is no way around it; ESRD patients require treatments three times a week. One missed treatment could lead to hospitalization and negatively affect their mortality. 

“Our commitment is to our patients,” 

says Jai-Leah Kamenicky, facility administrator at DaVita. “We have not closed or decreased capacity at any of our facilities.” DaVita has over 2,600 locations—two in Fredericksburg—and serves 11 countries. 

DaVita aims to keep patients out of the hospital, but it’s even more concerning with hospitals’ resources and staff stretched thin. 

“We believe the best treatment for our patients is in their home facilities with the nurses, patient care technicians, social workers and dietitians who know them best,” says Kamenicky. Each patient is carefully monitored to reduce their risk of hospitalization through frequent lab and medication reviews, as well as follow-ups with their primary care physician.

Though DaVita is committed to the health of its patients, it is equally dedicated to its employees. Davida has implemented a thoughtful approach to supporting its staff during this time, which includes emergency backup childcare and elderly care, and an Employee Assistance Program designed to provide emotional support and answers to questions about resources. “We are all one village working hard together to provide great care to our patients,” says Kamenicky.

Sufficient access to face masks and other personal protective equipment remains an ongoing concern amongst medical personnel. PPE is constantly monitored to ensure no DaVita facility is ever lacking. This is vital at their COVID-positive cohort facilities where patients who have tested positive receive their treatments. Working shifts at these facilities is optional for DaVita employees.

“We have some fabulous teammates who have stepped up and volunteered to work COVID-positive shifts,” says Kamenicky. One such teammate is longtime DaVita employee and patient care technician Stevie Rose Martinez Maez. 

“I felt it necessary to do as much as I possibly could for my patients, my tea and my community,” says Maez, who credits her faith as one of the things that keep her going and helps her to stay positive.

DaVita is Italian for “giving life,” something the company and Maez take to heart. 

“I don’t have to worry about whether or not what I‘m doing with my life is making a difference because each day that I go to work, I am helping someone to stay alive just a little bit longer,” she says.

The company has earned several recognitions, including being named as a distinguished member of the 2019 Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index for its efforts in gender equality, and for 13 years it has made the list of Fortune’s World’s Most Admired Companies. 

For teammates like Maez, the greatest honor is the life they give. 

“My biggest reward is watching the patients recover. Nothing makes me happier than seeing a patient able to go back home to their families and loved ones,” Maez says.

Rhiannon Ellis
Rhiannon Ellis is a freelance writer and author, a fitness instructor, and owner of Impact Fitness. She resides with her two children in her native Williamsburg and on their mini-farm in Charles City.

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