Drought Conditions May Change Dialysis Treatments As Chronic Kidney Disease Patients Know Them

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, in the United States several regions across the country are currently experiencing an "Abnormally Dry Season" and in western states, "Exceptional Drought." Although, the heat may impact Chronic Kidney Disease and Dialysis patients causing them to suffer periods of "melting-down" or "feeling drained," many Chronic Kidney Disease patients do not realize that drought may impact their Dialysis Treatments as they know them.

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Loyola University Health System found that "about 80% of Dialysis patients are unprepared for Natural Disasters or emergency."  In many cases this is also true for periods of severe drought. According to the news resource, The Telegraph, during a drought in Brazil, "Doctors reportedly had to cut short Dialysis for patients with Kidney Failure because of the [water] shortage." 

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With recent water restrictions, some parts of California are expected to have to cut their water usage by 35%, regulators said.  Could this have an impact on Dialysis? Perhaps in California and other drought stricken regions. This is because all "Dialysis units require purified, 'Dialysis-Quality' water" in large amounts to prepare a patient's Dialysate (fluid that helps remove the unwanted waste products from your blood) and to rinse and reprocess the Dialysis membranes and machines, suggested the Food And Drug Administration website.

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Thus, what is likely to happen if Dialysis Clinics have to scramble to cut water use during drought conditions? Well, when a dangerous Chemical Spill contaminated Virginia's water supply, Dialysis Providers such as DaVita HealthCare Partners Inc., "closed clinics temporarily or consolidated operations" according to Nephrology News. Although DaVita HealthCare Partners Inc. spokesperson, David Tauchen said at the time, "We set up a triage-type system," both of the country's Largest Dialysis Providers - DaVita and Fresenius Medical Care (North America) - "trucked in fresh water." 

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Hence, Chronic Kidney Disease patients who conduct Dialysis can help ease their minds by discussing with their Social Worker a given Dialysis Clinic's Emergency Drought Plan. Specifically, patients should ask whether their center will be closed or will fresh water be trucked in? If closed, patients should know where and when they will receive Dialysis and how they will be notified about changes. 

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If you are conducting Home Hemodialysis, "your Home Dialysis Healthcare Team will show you what you need to know to deal with the unexpected," particularly during your Home Dialysis training course, according to DaVita HealthCare Partners Inc. 

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Dialysis patients should monitor the news and keep an eye on their water restrictions. Also, remember that the key to success during an unexpected situation such as drought is to plan ahead, not worry, stay calm and have all the necessary supplies on hand. Click here for more information on how Dialysis patients can better prepare for disasters. 

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References:

"Dialysis Clinics Scramble after West Virginia Chemical Spill Shuts off Water Source." Http://www.nephrologynews.com. Nephrology News and Issues.

"Reopening Dialysis Clinics after Restoration of Power and Water." U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Http://www.fda.gov, n.d. Web. 10 Apr. 2015.

"Preparing for the Unexpected with Home Dialysis." Http://www.davita.com. DaVita HealthCare Partners Inc., n.d. Web. 10 Apr. 2015.

"Emergency Preparedness for People with Kidney Disease." Http://www.davita.com/. DaVita HealthCare Partners Inc., n.d. Web. 10 Apr. 2015.