Plan ahead. It is recommended that you give at least one to two months' notice for travel. Talk with your dialysis support staff for help finding a dialysis center in the area you are visiting, and schedule your appointment well in advance of arriving at your destination.
Call to set up an appointment. If you are an in-center hemodialysis patient or home hemodialysis patient, contact a dialysis center in the city you will be visiting to schedule your treatments. Planning your appointments in advance will help you get into the center most convenient for you, in terms of location and appointment times.
Be flexible. You may have to change the days you dialyze or dialyze at a time or location that is not convenient. Remember, they are fitting you into their schedule where they can. Units often fit visitors into space that is open due to vacation or hospitalization of one of their patients.
Be clear on your needs. Be clear on your needs. If you are traveling to attend a specific event, let them know what times you would be unavailable to dialyze. Ask if they can work around that.
Let your doctor know you will be traveling, and follow up to get necessary tests done as soon as possible (such as history and physical, EKG, chest X-ray).
If you are a peritoneal dialysis (PD) patient, you are not limited to a dialysis center schedule. Be sure to discuss your travel plans with your medical provider before leaving. 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.
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. Bringing your own healthy and approppriate 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.
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 at your destination that you will be traveling with a wheelchair, so they can offer you a handicapped-accessible room. By mentioning this when you make your reservation, you will be more likely to get the room that best suits your needs.
Pack necessary medications and medical records, including your physician's phone number, in your carry-on bag.
Northwest Kidney Centers keeps people in the Seattle area alive with dialysis care,
educates the public about kidney health, and collaborates with UW Medicine in the
Kidney Research Institute. We are one of very few community-based, nonprofit dialysis
providers in the country. Founded in 1962, ours was the first out-of-hospital dialysis
program in the world and it is still a model in the field.
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