Traveling with Kidney Disease Fact Sheet

Traveling on Dialysis Fact sheet – SAB 1/28/2008
Traveling with Kidney Disease Fact Sheet
Most people enjoy a holiday – and people with kidney disease are no exception.
Vacations are possible for people with kidney disease as long as they are in reasonably
stable health and have obtained approval from their doctors. All it takes is planning.
Planning your vacation
Obtain approval from your doctor and have a doctor’s letter outlining your medical
condition, dialysis information, medication and contact telephone numbers. Talk to your
healthcare team to determine which health records you need to take with you. You may
want to carry a separate medication record with you at all times. Your healthcare team
may be able to help you make dialysis arrangements at dialysis locations worldwide. For
a successful vacation while on hemodialysis, start planning four to five months before
your holiday.
Locating a Dialysis Centre
• In Canada: Talk to your clinic coordinator or check the online e-directory of
Canadian dialysis centres accepting visitors.
• Out of the country: Dialysis units exist in thousands of places around the world.
The following links will help you locate some of them:
www.dialysisunits.com Dialysis units in the US with maps and
driving instructions
www.dialysisfinder.com Locates dialysis units within the US
www.globaldialysis.com Included a searchable database of renal
units worldwide, details of kidney patient
associations and national kidney charities
around the world plus lots of useful
information and links
www.eurodial.org Based in France, publishes a directory of
units around the world in booklet format and
on the web; also have a travel agency who
can help with recommending
accommodation, arranging insurance and
booking holidays
Dialysis Costs
In Canada, a reciprocal agreement exists among the provinces where patients can
dialyze anywhere in the country, with the home province being billed.
Outside of Canada, most dialysis units request payment in advance. Alberta Health will
reimburse a limited amount but you will be responsible for all costs up front. Many US
units charge considerably more (from $300 to $700Cdn) than what Alberta Health will
cover. The Kidney Foundation can provide an interest free loan which the traveler must
pay back once they receive their claim from Alberta Health. The loans are for a
maximum of 12 treatments at the rate Alberta Health will reimburse. Traveling on Dialysis Fact sheet – SAB 1/28/2008
It is advisable to make sure you know what all the costs are going to be and what
Alberta Health will cover before you make final arrangements. For further information or
for a loan application, speak with the Travel Clerks at the Southern Alberta Renal
Program or contact The Kidney Foundation of Canada.
Travel Insurance
Because Alberta Health does not cover all healthcare costs it is advisable to obtain
additional travel insurance. Be careful to check and compare limitations related to preexisting medical conditions, age and travel outside Alberta.
Peritoneal Dialysis
With proper advance notice (minimum four weeks within North America and two months
internationally), Baxter can arrange for selected supplies to arrive at approved, predetermined locations throughout the world. Contact your renal unit to determine how
much notice is needed for your chosen destination and what charges, if any, are you are
responsible for.
For US travel, each patient is entitled to receive a 4-week supply each calendar year
with no freight charges. Freight charges will apply for additional and international
deliveries. Also, it is advisable to get the name, address and phone number of a CAPD
(Continuous Ambulatory Peritoneal Dialysis) unit to contact in case of an emergency.
Contact your renal unit for more information.
Carrying out CAPD exchanges while traveling
Discuss your travel itinerary with your PD nurse who will advise you on the most suitable
exchange plan for your outward and return journeys. Most airports, ports, stations and
tourist attractions also have a medical room or St. John’s Ambulance treatment room
where is should be possible to carry out CAPD exchange – call in advance to check
what is available.
Traveling with a transplant
• Obtain letters of authorization from your doctors for all medications and carry the
letters with you at all times. (Be aware of Government of Canada restrictions to
items in checked and carry-on bags. Visit: www.catsa-acsta.gc.ca for more
• Have contact information for a doctor at your destination should a medical
emergency arise
• Bring enough medication and carry written prescriptions of your medications
Cruises are available with fully-equipped hemodialysis units and fully qualified medical
personnel on board. The point of departure is usually an America city, though many
Alaskan cruises now leave from Vancouver.
Dialysis at Sea is the largest provider of dialysis services aboard cruise ships in the
world, and has been in service since 1977. They offer cruises in Canada, Alaska,
Hawaii, Asia, Mississippi River, Panama Canal, Bermuda, South America, South Pacific,
Caribbean and Europe.
For more information:
1-800-544-7604 within the US and Canada
Fax: (727) 518-7322
www.dialysisatsea.comTraveling on Dialysis Fact sheet – SAB 1/28/2008
There are also resorts around the world for people on dialysis. They have complete
hemodialysis units, qualified medical and nursing personnel and can cater to special
dietary needs. Check with your Renal Social Worker for a list of resorts with dialysis
Dialysis facilities located in Jamaica, St. Lucia, Barbados and Puerto Rico:
Traveling Dialysis RV Association has a travel trailer outfitted with a dialysis machine for
rent – open to all home dialysis patients across Alberta.
For more information:
William Watson Lodge in Kananaskis Country provides year-round camping facilities for
people with disabilities and senior citizens over age 65. It includes 22 accessible
cottages, 13 full-service campsites, picnic sites and 18 kilometres of accessible trails.
Facilities are booked on a priority system and can be reserved up to four months in
For more information:
Phone: (403) 591-7227
Source: The Kidney News, Spring 2003. Reprinted with permission from The Kidney Foundation of Canada British
Columbia Branch.
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