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Essential Traveling Tips for Kidney Patients

Individuals suffering from kidney ailments have to exercise due caution while traveling. This Buzzle article has a few tips to help make their journeys more comfortable.
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Traveling trip for kidney patient
What about last-minute travel?
Staff at dialysis centers are understanding of a patient's condition, and undertake every effort to make last-minute accommodations if the patient needs to travel unexpectedly. In such cases, the patient can send over the necessary documents to the dialysis center in the city of visit, and schedule an appointment.
Traveling, be it for leisure, business, or personal reasons, should never be seen as a hindrance or a chore by patients who are on dialysis or have undergone a kidney transplant. This is because, with the right precaution and care, these individuals can enjoy outdoor trips, provided their doctor has given them a clean bill of health. In fact, there are instances where doctors themselves encourage patients to get a change of scenery, so as to lift their spirits.

If you too are a kidney patient the tips listed below are sure to be of assistance, the next time you're allowed to go on a trip out of town.

Begin your preparations early.
Depending upon your destination, begin your preparations at least two months in advance; earlier if you're traveling abroad. This also applies if you're traveling to a popular holiday destination during peak season. The preparations include selecting a dialysis center at the destination, and establishing contact with them to let you schedule your sessions. Doing this in advance will help you to comfortably decide your departure, sightseeing, and the return journey. You or your travel coordinator may need to look for more than one center, in order to accommodate your visits. Planning in advance ensures that last-minute glitches (if any) are kept to a bare minimum.

Discuss all your doubts and apprehensions with your doctor beforehand.
As a hemodialysis patient, you're obviously bound to be concerned about the trip, especially if this is your first. Feel free about any queries or apprehensions that may be bothering you, and do not leave anything out. Be open and honest about your condition, and if you feel you're not up to it, discuss it with your doctor. It is very important to get your doubts clarified before you travel.

Know about home-hemodialysis.
There are a few hemodialysis patients who may want to opt for in-house treatments while traveling. In such cases, one must first get a nod from their doctor, before they go ahead with it. If you're permitted to do so, you are expected to carry your machines, supplies, and portable water treatment equipment. However, please ensure that you have the contact details of the dialysis center that's closest to you if you need assistance.

Do not exert yourself at any cost.
Your vacation time should be free from stress and anxiety. Therefore, it is important to keep your sightseeing schedule as relaxed and open-ended as possible. Do not sign up for any group travel or hectic activities which need a rigid schedule to be followed. Understand that there may be times when you may just want to stay in your hotel, and not feel compelled to follow a physically demanding itinerary.

Travel advise for peritoneal dialysis patients.
Although peritoneal dialysis patients may not even need to visit a dialysis center, it is advised that they do contact a center in their vicinity, should an emergency arise. You are expected to travel along with your medical documents, which will be of assistance to the dialysis center in instances like this.

Clarify all insurance-related matters.
If you are a U.S. citizen holding a Medicare policy as your primary insurance, the company will pay for 80% of the treatment if it is conducted within the U.S. and its territories. The rest can be covered if you have a secondary insurance. Take note that you may be expected to pay the 20% yourself, and then claim it from the insurance company. The transient dialysis center may also charge a doctor's fee, which may or may not be covered by your insurance―do remember to clarify this beforehand. In case you have insurance from a commercial company, you'll have to request them to furnish you a letter which says that the policy will cover the cost of treatment at the transient center. The staff there may contact the company to ensure this.

Miscellaneous Tips:
  • It is important to carry all your medication and prescriptions, along with any documents, as told by your doctor. Leaving out a single thing out of this may ruin your entire vacation.
  • Inform your travel agent about any special requests about plane seats, meal preferences, and hotel rooms in advance. You may specifically put in a request for a first floor room, which can be easily accessed.
  • Make sure that you have requested special meals (low-salt, low-fat, or diabetic), as prescribed by your doctor throughout the trip.
  • Inform all close friends and relatives about your travel plans, and carry contact details of your doctor and a close family member on you at all times.
Traveling for kidney patients need not be any different, as long as they take necessary precautions, and keep themselves in a relaxed state of mind.

Disclaimer: This article is for informative purposes only, and should not be treated as a substitute for professional medical advice.
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Published: February 26, 2014
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