If you are a dialysis patient, you can still travel for business or vacation. Fresenius Medical Care states that with some thoughtful preparation, dialysis patients can go camping, go on cruises and travel both domestically and abroad. You will need to make detailed plans to continue your treatment and check with your health insurance provider to plan for additional expenses incurred by receiving treatment from out-of-network providers. Medicare will not pay for dialysis outside of the United States so plan to carry extra cash or traveler's checks for your treatment.
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If you require in-center hemodialysis, you will need to plan your trip well ahead of time. Start by choosing a vacation site and find dialysis facilities in the area, using the Internet. You can also check with the American Association of Kidney Patients (AAKP) for a list of centers in the area. Once you have a list of potential sites, check with your insurance company about where it will cover dialysis. Discuss the specifics of your trip with your dialysis care team so that you have the right amount of medications to last the length of your trip.
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Try not to overdo it! Give yourself enough time to enjoy you activities without becoming overly tired. Use a calendar to plan special events, tours or meals; include time(s) for dialysis treatment. Factor in travel time to and from treatment center. Also, consider times when you might be tired from dialysis. By using a schedule you can be confident that you will not miss any special events or sights, but still have time for treatment and recovery.
Make the most of your travel by planning for emergencies, too. If traveling overseas, consider purchasing travel insurance. Most travel insurance plans will cover emergency medical care abroad, and even transport you home in an emergency. Travel insurance generally doesn't cover routine dialysis.
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If you've never traveled as a dialysis patient, take a short practice trip. Travel just a few hundred miles. Go out of town for a special weekend event, scheduling this around your dialysis treatment. For example, if your dialysis schedule is Monday, Wednesday and Friday, leave on Friday after your treatment and plan to return on Sunday. The benefit of a practice trip is that you are close to your own treatment facility and you can call there if problems arise. If you're still unsure about traveling while on dialysis treatment, take a cruise through Dialysis At Sea. You'll be able to vacation with peace of mind, knowing that you can get dialysis treatment on the ship.
Whether you're planning a short or long trip, take the proper documentation. According to AAKP, you should bring a copy of a chest X-ray and a copy of your most recent lab tests, including an HIV test and a TB test. Have copies of your current medication list and your dialysis orders. Pack double the medication you think you'll need. KidneyBuzz.com advises the kidney dialysis patient that a few preparatory steps before departure will help ensure a safe and less stressful travel experience.
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Bajorek, Melissa. "How to Travel With Dialysis." EHow.
"Vacation Planning for Dialysis Patients." Kidney Health.