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International Travel While on Dialysis

By Barbara Wallace, Renal Dialysis Nurse,
and Deborah Pelaez, AAKP Marketing and Communications Manager

At AAKP, we know how important quality of life is for kidney patients, including those on dialysis. Planning a vacation away from home can seem like a daunting task. This article was written to help those who are considering not just a vacation, but an International vacation while on dialysis. AAKP interviewed international dialysis nurse, Barbara Wallace, co-owner of Irish Holiday Dialysis, to learn about important things to consider when planning a trip abroad including a Top 10 List, which you will find highlighted below.

Choosing a Vacation Destination

So, you have decided to plan an International vacation while on dialysis. How will you decide where to go? Maybe you’ve always dreamed about traveling somewhere like Paris or Ireland, but before you book that trip there are many things to consider.

First, Barbara suggests choosing a vacation destination in a country with a reputation for high quality healthcare and with clinics that have similar high standards to your own center. This will ease your mind and make many of the other travel decisions easier.

Additionally, she encourages patients to talk to their clinic’s social worker or patient concierge to ask for help when planning as well. You don’t have to plan alone, there are many people and resources to help you. Your social worker may have additional resources and services for you, but Barbara recommends these websites when investigating International travel destinations with dialysis clinics:

Travel Resources

https://www.booknowmed.com/ – An online booking engine for international travel dialysis, allowing users to check availability, cost and book dialysis in real time. It is non-promotional and free of charge for the patient.

https://traveldialysisreview.com/ – This website is run by a group of dialysis patients who like to travel internationally. It is a very honest website that shares good and bad reviews. This website also offers a travel blog.

http://www.globaldialysis.com/ – A long established website for dialysis and travel with a database of thousands of international clinics and lots of practical travel advise.

If this is your first international vacation while on dialysis, you may also want to choose a country where there is no language barrier. Furthermore, Barbara suggests choosing a country with established tourism links with the U.S. She says that this makes planning much easier, such as finding direct flights, travel reviews and more.

Planning for your Trip – Important Information

Allow time for the clinic you choose internationally to receive all your medical information. This could take about one month. Your physician will need to deem you fit to travel. Most international clinics will require a letter of consent, as well as all medical records in advance. All records should be sent electronically and securely between your home clinic and holiday clinic well in advance. You will not usually need to bring any medical records with you when travelling – care should be taken with your personal data. Diabetics should bring blood sugar records.

Dialysis Treatment Internationally – What to Expect

Dialysis patients get to see a side of a country that few people get to see – the medical side. The aim at any clinic is to give you the exact same treatment as you would at home. The dialysis machine may be a different model, but it can be programmed to your specific prescription. Any slight difference there may be will be identified in the planning stage. You should travel in confidence, with no worries about safety, and trusting you will get the same type of treatment.

After planning your trip in confidence using these tips and pointers, we wish you safe travels and remember to enjoy what a holiday is all about – enjoy the culture, the people, the country you are going to and enjoy the ones you are with.

This article was originally published in aakpRENALIFE, May 2019.