By VICTORIA VILLANUEVA-MARQUEZ
NORTH PORT — A new medical supply store recently opened in North Port, and has made receiving dialysis treatment more comfortable for some patients.
Kristen Gentry, owner of Encompass Medical, located at the North Port Village Shopping Center, said one of clothing items available for purchase resembles a sweatsuit, but includes several zippers that provide access to a patient’s dialysis catheter or port.
Gentry, who previously worked as a hospital administrator, said the sweatsuit eliminates the need for patients to remove their clothing during treatment, helping them feel more at ease.
“When somebody is already not feeling well, you’ve taken away some of their dignity by making them remove their clothes or wear something a lot shorter so you can access the location of their port,” she said.
The store also has a program that delivers briefs to patients with urinary incontinence issues, as well as a hypoallergenic cosmetics line for patients with rosacea or psoriasis.
Gentry noted that the lack of services available to local residents prompted her to open a location in North Port. She said many had to travel to Port Charlotte or Venice to access similar medical supply stores.
“North Port has this gap, where there’s a huge population of patients who need services, but in order to receive adequate access they really had to drive or contact one of those places that were a little bit further away,” Gentry said.
“And when you don’t feel well the last thing you want to do is get in the car and drive 20 minutes in either direction.”