Weather-related emergencies pose a significant risk for dialysis patients, who rely on regular treatments to keep them alive. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has provided a guide for dialysis patients to prepare for emergencies, which includes tips for preparation, an emergency diet plan, and a list of needed supplies.
The guide includes the following tips for handling an emergency, and the possible need to travel in an emergency:
1. Stay at home unless you are hurt, as long as it is safe to do so. Instructions for dialysis patients may be available on TV, radio, or by phone or messenger. Depending on
the nature of the emergency, you might want to call your dialysis facility or doctor, because he or she might be able to help you manage this emergency.
2. Take a fanny pack or backpack stocked with emergency supplies, food, and medication with you if you will be away from home when severe weather or a natural disaster is predicted.
3. Make sure your dialysis facility knows where to find you.
4. Start your emergency diet (see page 22) as soon as an emergency situation is predicted or occurs, if it could delay your next regular dialysis treatment.
5. If you must go to a shelter, tell the person in charge about your special health needs.
6. If you need medical treatment, make sure your dialysis access is not used for anything other than your dialysis treatment. No one should use your access to give you fluid or medication.
7. Follow the instructions in this booklet to be prepared.
Remember: Hospitals may not be able to give you maintenance dialysis treatments.
1. Make arrangements for dialysis at your destination, or have necessary equipment or supplies delivered ahead of time.
2. Carry an extra 2-3 day supply of all your medicines/ supplies in your hand-carried luggage and keep it with you at all times. A fanny pack or backpack may be more convenient. If your luggage is lost or misplaced, you will still be able to take your medicine until it is found or you can get another supply.
The guide also includes the following to prepare for an emergency:
1. Gather and carry important medical information.
2. Ask your facility about how to find out about alternative arrangements for treatment.
3. Prepare an emergency stock of supplies, food, and medicines.
4. Know what diet to follow if your dialysis must be delayed.