For many patients who are on dialysis or have had a kidney transplant, the ability to travel is important to their self-esteem and lifestyle. Working patients may need to attend business meetings or conferences. Older patients may have dreamed of traveling during their retirement. A family event such as a wedding, graduation or family reunion may require travel away from home. At times, emergencies such as illness or a death in the family may require travel.
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
It is important to start planning at least six to eight weeks in advance. More time should be allowed for popular vacation spots or travel during holidays. Be flexible about the dates for your trip as space in dialysis units may be limited. If you would prefer your treatments on specific days and at specific times, let the center know in advance. The unit may not always be able to honor your request, however, because space is limited.
Travel-for-All will investigate the name & addresses of the Dialysis Centers where you are visiting. Many times, if you are on Peritoneal Dialysis we can arrange for you to send your ‘liquid’ to the travel supplier who is working with us to coordinate your vacation.
Many centers make every effort to accommodate patients in the event of an emergency such as illness or death of a family member. Necessary medical records can be faxed ahead, or you can hand carry them with you.
Most dialysis centers require the following information 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
- List of the medications you take during treatment and at home
This information will be sent to your destination center for review. It is important for the doctor and transient center to know as much about you as possible to care for your needs while visiting their center. In addition to mailing your records to the center, you should hand carry a copy with you.
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.
Travel-for-All strongly recommends that prior to travelling while on dialysis you consult with your physician and your travel insurance provider.