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:
- Start traveling on a small scale. Try one treatment away from your own unit to experience how the scheduling process works.
- Before booking a long distance trip, make a list of dialysis facilities in potential travel destinations that accept transient patients.
- 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.
- 4) Select a dialysis unit you find most comfortable based on location and openings.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 8) Make sure your blood access is working well by having your last treatment levels measured.
- 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.
- 10) Reconfirm your treatment schedule with the dialysis unit a few days before you travel.
- 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.
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.