Vacation Planning for Dialysis Patients

Many of our patients have travelled all over the world. With careful planning, there is opportunity for individuals to travel whether they are on hemodialysis or peritoneal dialysis and to have a good experience.

Patients who want to travel have to plan in advance and make many arrangements on their own. Your health-care team will help in the process and can offer you information and advice about travelling.  If you are planning a vacation let your team know as soon as possible. If you plan on being out of Manitoba for more than 90 days you must contact your health-care team and Manitoba Health. You should also look into having proper insurance coverage if you are travelling outside of the country.

LINKS

• Hemodialysis Travel Checklist

• Peritoneal Dialysis Travel Checklist

• Global Dialysis

• Baxter (Peritoneal Dialysis) Travel Rep Travel  1-800-387-8399

American Association of Kidney Patients

• Fresenius Medical Care Patient Travel Service 1-866-434-2597 (Hemodialysis)

• Patient Travel Experiences

• Dialysisunits.com

HEMODIALYSIS

Travel within Canada requires at least six to eight weeks notice. There are no additional costs to receive dialysis at other units in Canada (with the only exception being private clinics in Quebec). Find a unit near your destination and make arrangements with them for dialysis treatment appointments. Paperwork will have to be completed and your health-care team helps with that. Many of the units have the same standards of care and your care will be similar to care you receive here in Manitoba. The destination unit needs to receive your information in the time they request, or they can refuse to dialyze visitors.

Travel outside of Canada requires longer notice. It is up to you or your family to make initial contact with the dialysis centre to arrange dates for dialysis. At that time you can ask the unit to send transfer forms to us for completion. Tests are often required for this process so allow as much time as possible in advance for this to happen. Units outside of Canada charge various fees that are the responsibility of the patient. Be sure to get the costs or additional fees in writing before hand. You must assume all the costs of the dialysis treatment outside Canada but can provide receipts to Manitoba Health for a set amount of reimbursement, which is usually only a portion of each dialysis treatment.

Research the unit you will be visiting and consider aspects such as their practices and if they reuse any equipment like dialyzers. Your health-care team can give you additional supplies to take with you and can provide letters that indicate why you are carrying these supplies with you through border crossings. Your care team is a great resource – feel free to ask any questions.

There are vacation destinations that specialize in providing dialysis services to their guests such as Camp Dorset in Ontario and various cruise lines and Caribbean resorts.

PERITONEAL DIALYSIS

The arrangements PD patients make depend on the type of travelling they will be doing and the distance travelled. Patients should make arrangements several weeks in advance to make arrangements for PD supplies to be delivered to their destination. Baxter sends PD supplies to most of the world and provides one free delivery internationally per year, and two free nationally per year. There is a charge for additional deliveries.

You may need to still carry some supplies with you, as well as a back up catheter and solution supply. For border-crossing and customs, your health care team can provide letters provide  letters that help explain any supplies and medications that you are carrying with you. Some patients opt to carry their night-cycler as carry-on luggage instead of checking it. If you run into problems or have supply or equipment issues, Baxter has a 24-hour phone line for PD patients. Your health care team can be a huge resource and you should talk to them for information when planning your travels. For travelling by car, or camping, you can carry some supplies with you. All the usual considerations, such as infection prevention, should take place.