If you have ever found yourself wishing for another vacation before you've even finished unpacking your suitcase from the last one, it is because of the preparation that was done before you hit the road for your trip. But it turns out, if you complete a few crucial steps you will end up enjoying a comfortable and stress-free vacation.
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Though travel outside of United States requires longer notice, travel within the States, as a Medicare Patient, requires that you provide your clinic with at least six to eight weeks notice before you travel. There are typically no additional costs to receive dialysis at other units in the U.S. You must find a unit near your destination and your healthcare team can make arrangements with them for dialysis treatment appointments during your vacation. The destination unit needs to receive your information in the time they request, or they can refuse to dialyze visitors. So, you should follow up with your social worker four weeks in advance of your vacation to ensure all necessary paperwork has been completed and sent to the appropriate facility. Units outside of America charge various prices for treatments that Medicare does not cover. Be sure to get the costs in writing beforehand so that you can discuss additional fees with your insurance provider.
If you are a Peritoneal Dialysis (PD) patient, you should make arrangements several weeks in advance for PD supplies to be delivered to their vacation spot. Many facilities send supplies to most parts of the world and provide free delivery internationally at least one time per year. There may be charges for additional deliveries. Consider carrying additional supplies with you, as well as a back-up catheter wrapping and portable solution. For border-crossing and customs, your healthcare team can provide letters that explain any supplies and medications that you must carry with you. Some patients opt to travel with their night-cycler as carry-on luggage instead of "checking it." If you run into problems or have supply/equipment issues, contact your healthcare provider. Your health care team can be a huge resource and you should ask them for information when planning your travels while on PD.
Recommended Reading: Peritoneal Dialysis (PD) can be Used Safely Long Term
KidneyBuzz.com recommends that your research your vacation destination via online information, testimonial reviews and your care team should also be a great resource so feel free to ask them questions. There are destinations that specialize in providing dialysis services to their guests such as various cruise lines and Caribbean resorts. Enjoy the beauty of your vacation by soaking up the sun, swimming, wind sailing, tennis, golf, casually biking, nature walking or kayaking.
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Remind yourself that this is not just an extension of your dialysis simply from a different location. All of a sudden having less to do can feel strange to you and it may take a few days to wind down and be present in your vacation if you are really wired or anxious. The bottom line is that you earned this time off to recover and prepare for further dialysis while not burning out. Ask yourself how you want to remember your vacation when you look back on it. Will you only have memories of stress and anxiety associated with your dialysis treatment or instead, will there be cherished memories of those special moments spent with your loved ones? It is ultimately up to you!
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Reference: "Vacation Planning for Dialysis Patients." Kidney Health