One of the first concerns many recently diagnosed kidney disease patients have is whether they’ll be able to continue living their lives normally. The causes of chronic kidney disease are various but while, undoubtedly, some things will need to change to keep healthy, there’s no reason you have to compromise on your lifestyle. You can still work and do the things you love as long as you’ve been approved by your doctor. Many patients are surprised to discover they can even travel.
That’s right, it’s completely possible to travel even for dialysis patients. Most patients are safely able to travel and receive treatment away from home. The world doesn’t have to become smaller just because you have kidney disease. This guide will uncover foreign travel tips specifically geared toward dialysis patients. However, always talk to your doctor before planning any trips to make sure you’re cleared to travel.
1. Talk to Your Dialysis Center
Your first step in planning your trip is to talk to your dialysis center. Most centers are equipped with a staff member who helps arrange dialysis treatments at other centers for current patients. Your social worker or your primary nurse will be able to help you get in touch with this staff member.
Let them help you find a service for treatment while traveling, even if it’s only in another city nearby. They’ll help you prepare any necessary documents to travel with as well as scheduling treatments. If you’re planning a foreign trip, review local clinic information to ensure they’re qualified and equipped to deliver quality care.
2. Plan as Early as Possible
One of the most important parts of traveling with dialysis is to start as early as possible. Last minute trips simply won’t be practical. Start planning at least 6 weeks in advance, preferably more. This gives you more time to plan your treatments. Space is limited at treatment centers, especially for visiting patients. Keep your schedule flexible so you can accommodate these times.
Planning early also allows time for finding the right dialysis center. Sometimes you or your patient coordinator will need to look at several centers for an opening. This is especially true during the holidays or popular travel times. That’s why it might be smarter to travel in the offseason. Traveling at off times will also save you money!
3. Bring Your Information
Your doctor will be able to assist you in obtaining the right documents to travel, but you should always second check on your own. Without the right documents, your travel treatment center won’t be able to properly treat you. Here is a short list of some of the must-haves before leaving home:
- Dates of treatment
- Your personal information (name, address, phone number)
- Medical history
- Recent lab results
- Recent chest x-ray
- Dialysis prescription
- Insurance information
Once again, talk to your clinic about obtaining this information before you leave. It’s also a good idea to save copies of your medical information online where you can access it in case it’s compromised or lost. Google Drive is a great place to store your records safely, and it can be accessed from mobile devices.
Travel Safely as a Dialysis Patient
As you can see, it’s not as complicated as you think to travel as a dialysis patient. Yes, there will be extra steps, and you might need to travel around treatments, but that doesn’t mean you can’t explore the world on your own terms. Talk to your doctor about traveling if you think you’re ready to leave home. Your clinic can walk you through the right steps to ensure your travel is safe and easy.