Vacation, travel & dialysis - is that possible?
Yes of course you can still travel!
Neither hemodialysis (HD), nor peritoneal dialysis (PD) should stop you from continuing to explore the world. There are people who have traveled to several dozen countries despite dialysis. You just have to keep a few things in mind and plan a bit more in preparation, but you'll certainly get there! And while you may still have a few questions and concerns the first time, it will become almost routine the second and third time you go on vacation dialysis.
PD vs. HD - how does travel preparation differ?
With peritoneal dialysis (PD), as always, you mostly rely on yourself. You should make sure you have enough materials on site for your bag changes. If you are traveling for a longer period of time, you can also have your dialysis material delivered directly to your destination by the supplier. Note that this often needs to be ordered at least 6 weeks before the start of your vacation. For the bag change, it is still extremely important that you ensure an environment that is as germ-free as possible. Try to clarify this as far as possible in advance.
If, on the other hand, you are on hemodialysis (HD), you should arrange a place for vacation dialysis at a dialysis center at your chosen destination before your trip. Ideally, your booked accommodation should not be too far from your dialysis center. You should clarify both medical and organizational issues with your medical team at home and the vacation dialysis center in advance. Transport to and from the dialysis center, for example, is also part of this. You should also make sure that your health insurance company confirms in writing how much it will reimburse you for dialysis.
Where can I do dialysis around the world?
Basically, you can do PD anywhere in the world with the necessary utensils. Of course, it makes sense to at least find a dialysis center experienced in PD in advance, which you could also contact in an unlikely emergency. You might also contact them briefly in advance.
Even as an HD patient, you can travel to most places in the world - provided there is a dialysis center somewhere accessible. So before you decide on your vacation destination, you should find a dialysis center where you can dialyze during your stay. For several reasons, it is always advisable to find the dialysisc center first and then the accommodation.
Unfortunately, there is no worldwide directory or registry for dialysis centers. However, in the Miku app you will find one of the most comprehensive database of dialysis centers. Miku's world map contains more than 5,500 dialysis centers, most of them even including contact details. If you know of centers that are not included in the app, or if you have discovered an error, bear with us and send us a short message via email - we will do our best ([email protected])!
What do you need to clarify with the dialysis center in advance?
Basically, it is important that your doctor checks that you are in a stable and physically good condition before travelling. The doctor should provide you with an appropriate doctor's letter for the vacation dialysis center before your trip. Find out whether the selected center regularly performs guest dialysis and can also provide a dialysis place for you for the intended travel period. You should also contact the dialysis center directly and ask what documents the dialysis center at your vacation destination requires from you. After consulting with your contact at the dialysis center, you should either bring necessary documents with you prepared or send them to the dialysis center in advance. To avoid communication difficulties on site, also make sure that a person at the center speaks a language in which you can communicate with them. Otherwise there may be problems with registration, before, during or after dialysis (e.g. if pain occurs). In addition, you can also better clarify organizational issues directly. For example, how transport to and from dialysis works and who organizes it.
What do you have to plan in advance?
The first step in preparing for your trip with HD should be to find a dialysis center that suits you at your destination. Next, you should discuss your choice with your health insurance provider and obtain written confirmation from them that the costs will be covered. You should also find out which documents and conditions your health insurance company requires from you in order to guarantee smooth reimbursement.
Another important element is your medication, both PD and HD. Make sure you have enough medication with you for your stay. Ideally, you should avoid running out of a medication while on vacation. However, check to see if there is an alternative to your medication that can be purchased in that country.
In the Miku app, you'll also find more information and checklists for organizing your travel HD and travel PD.
How does the reimbursement usually work?
Cost absorption varies greatly, which is why it's impossible to answer this question specifically. It is very different from country to country. After choosing your travel country, it is best to contact your health insurance company directly and ask which costs are covered. If there are financial problems, assistance funds can help you with the costs of vacation dialysis. In Germany, for example, Dialyseferien e.V. offers you financial support for your vacation dialysis under certain conditions. You can find more information about this on their website.
Are you ready for your dialysis vacation?
Wondering if you've forgotten anything? Just go through the checklists in the Miku app before you leave. That way, as a final step before your adventure, you can make sure you haven't forgotten anything.
Have you worked through all the points in the article or were you already informed beforehand? Well then, let's go!
- Website of the Bundesverband Niere e.V. Abgerufen am 3. Oktober 2021