Traveling While on Dialysis Has No Boundaries

There's no need to turn in your passport or let your frequent flyer miles go to waste just because you're on dialysis. Whether you want to take a two hour flight or a cruise around the world, anything is possible with proper planning. After all, singer Natalie Cole went on a world concert tour while on dialysis. So there's no need to be a homebody this summer. Here are some tips from the National Kidney Foundation that will have you packing your bags in no time:

  1. Start traveling on a small scale. Try one treatment away from your own unit to experience how the scheduling process works.
  2. Before booking a long distance trip, make a list of dialysis facilities in potential travel destinations that accept transient patients.
  3. NKF's People Like Us: Coffeehouse Conversations™ telephone series will feature a panel of hemodialysis patients and a nephrologist discussing "Travel on Dialysis" on July 13. Click here to register.

  4. 3) Call each facility on the list, at least 30 days prior to travel and discuss special needs you may have when at their unit and book open time slots.
  5. 4) Select a dialysis unit you find most comfortable based on location and openings.
  6. 5) Prepare and bring documentation about your medical condition, insurance, prescriptions, dialysis treatment and IV medication as well as copies of your last three treatment run sheets.
  7. 6) Start lining up your medications several days ahead, making sure you have enough to cover the trip and for a few days after you get home. Put these in your carry-on bag just in case your luggage is lost.
  8. 7) Find out what kind of food to expect in your destination location. If unfamiliar with certain foods, find out about their potassium and salt content.
  9. 8) Make sure your blood access is working well by having your last treatment levels measured.
  10. 9) Be aware of the proper way to stick your access. Know what kind of access you have and which are the arterial and venous sides.
  11. 10) Reconfirm your treatment schedule with the dialysis unit a few days before you travel.
  12. 11) Carry contact information for a facility at your travel destination if you are on home hemodialysis or peritoneal dialysis just in case you have a question or problem.