Is it possible for kidney patients to travel?
Yes, most patients who receive dialysis or have had a kidney transplant can travel safely and continue their treatment while away from home. Of course, you should always consult your doctor before planning to travel. Most doctors encourage travel if the patient’s health is stable. Traveling can give a big boost to a patient’s morale and sense of well-being.
How should hemodialysis patients begin to plan a trip?
Our dialysis center has a staff member who is experienced in arranging dialysis treatments away from home (transient dialysis). It is important to start planning at least six to eight weeks in advance. You or your patient travel coordinator may need to contact more than one center in order to find a center that can provide dialysis for you. Check with the center as soon as you arrive to confirm your appointment.
How will I find a center to dialyze at?
If you plan to visit friends or family out of town, they may be able to give you the name and address of the dialysis center nearest them.
What if I need to travel in an emergency?
Many dialysis centers make every effort to accommodate patients in the event of an emergency such as illness or death of a family member. Dialysis records can be faxed ahead, or you can hand carry them with you.
What information will my transient dialysis center need to safely provide dialysis for me?
Most dialysis centers require the following information in order to assess your health and plan for your treatments with them:
- the dates you need dialysis treatment
- your name, address, etc.
- medical history and recent physical exam reports
- recent lab results
- recent EKG
- recent chest x-ray
- your dialysis prescription and 3 to 5 recent treatment records
- dialysis access type
- special needs or dialysis requirements
- information about your general health
- insurance information
- where you will be staying in the area
- a list of the medications you take during treatment and at home.
How can I be sure about the quality of care I will be getting away from my regular center?
You may want to ask the following questions when making your arrangements for hemodialysis during your trip:
- Does the center reuse dialyzers?
- Does the center reuse bloodlines?
- What is the average treatment length of dialysis at the center?
- Can they provide the treatment time your doctor has prescribed?
- What are the hours and days of operation? Traveling patients often are placed on an evening shift, which could end as early as 7:30 p.m. or as late as 2:00 a.m.
- What types of dialyzers are used?
- Can you use the same type of dialyzer you use at your home center?
- What types of dialysis machine does the center have (conventional, high flux capability)?
- Does the center routinely provide lidocaine?
- Are patients permitted to eat or drink while on dialysis?
What if I get sick while I am visiting another center?
Don’t overdo it! Be realistic when planning activities. Allow enough time to enjoy sightseeing outings and activities without becoming overtired. Also, be sure to watch your diet and fluid intake. Before you begin your trip, you will most likely have a doctor assigned to you by your transient dialysis center. Find out how to contact the doctor when you first arrive. If you do become ill, call the dialysis center or doctor as instructed.
What should diabetic patients know about traveling?
Since the unexpected may happen during a trip and meals may be delayed, you should carry glucose tablets and appropriate snacks, such as low-potassium juice boxes or hard candy, to treat low blood sugar. It’s a good idea to travel with a “brown-bag” lunch or a packaged nutritional supplement in case of delays. Managing your diabetes can be made simpler by having insulin, syringes and blood glucose monitoring supplies handy.