What should I do to schedule dialysis before I set out?
Does insurance cover the cost of dialysis while I travel?
It is especially important for patients who have private or group insurance (especially if you do not have Medicare) to contact your insurance company to check on coverage for dialysis outside of your normal service area. Ask what percentage they pay and if you need to go to a contracted provider or obtain a referral, precertification, or preauthorization. If you don't plan ahead and follow the procedure set out by your insurance company, you could be left with a large bill to pay.
Is there anything special I should pack?
Be sure to carry medications and relevant medical records, including your physician's contact information, with you on your person while traveling so they don't get lost in luggage.
Bringing your own healthy and appropriate snacks will keep you satisfied while you travel. Airport restaurants and shops do not always offer the healthiest choices, and having your own food with you will be helpful if you are delayed in any way.
I usually receive dialysis at home. How can I go on a trip?
Home hemodialysis patients may either take their dialysis machine with them or receive dialysis in a center while traveling. Please discuss your plans and options with the home hemodialysis unit.
I am a peritoneal dialysis patient. Do I need to do anything special before I travel?
If you are a peritoneal dialysis (PD) patient, you are not limited to a dialysis center schedule. Make a list of the supplies you will need before leaving, and have them shipped to your destination or keep them with you. The more you plan, the more you will be able to relax and enjoy your vacation once you get there. Be sure to discuss your travel plans with your medical provider before leaving.
Do I need to make special arrangements with my airline or hotel?
When making flight reservations, ask for a meal that fits your doctor's recommendations for healthy eating. Most airlines offer low-salt or low-fat options.
If you will need to eat as soon as you check in, make sure your hotel offers a restaurant with healthy choices. Pack enough food with you to cover your needs until you arrive at your destination.
I use a wheelchair. Can I still travel?
If you are traveling with a wheelchair or scooter, let your airline know that you will need assistance before arriving at the airport. Ask the ticket desk attendant to "gate check" your wheelchair and obtain a luggage claim receipt for it.
Checking your wheelchair in will allow you to roll your wheelchair directly to the plane. When it is time to board, you can choose to walk to your seat or transfer into an "aisle chair" for assistance to your seat.
Be sure to notify the hotel you plan to stay at that you will be traveling with a wheelchair, so they can offer you with a handicapped-accessible room.