Kidney Diet Tips

Smart Tips for Travel for Hemodialysis Patients

Upcoming travel plans? People on dialysis are often able to do dialysis on the road. Planning ahead can help you have a more enjoyable trip while on dialysis.

Plan Ahead Considerations

Here are some things to consider to help you plan ahead and make your hemodialysis treatments go well.

Before Travel

Work with your dialysis center team to find out what you need to plan dialysis while traveling. Having this in place a head of time may give you more choice in the scheduled treatment time.

Start a packing list well in advance. Once you think of an item, add it to the list so nothing is forgotten.

If you do not already carry an information card, ask your dialysis team for one. The card should contain information on your kidney doctor and how to contact them during both business and non-business hours.

Lodgings and Location

Once you have the address of the visiting dialysis center, see if there is lodging in close proximity. Whether you are staying in a hotel or with someone you know, record the address. Consider recording the addresses in your phone contacts so you will always have it handy. If you have GPS on your phone, enter the address of the dialysis center as there may be multiple routes to get there. Knowing how long it takes will help you be on time for your scheduled treatment.

At the Dialysis Center

Make sure you bring the bag you normally take to dialysis or at least have a blanket (add it to your packing list.) Most centers do not keep extra blankets, headphones or neck rests available for visitors. Even if you do not typically get cold during treatment, other centers may keep their units at a different temperature. If you are usually warm, dress in layers in order to remove clothing. Bring along any numbing cream you may use (add it to the list.) Being as comfortable as possible in a foreign environment will help make your treatment go as smooth as possible.

If you have symptoms that occur during treatment, let the staff know before you might become ill. Include any other helpful specifics about your usual treatments.

Plan to bring your own snacks whether you are flying or driving (add them to the list). Once you arrive, shop at a local grocery store for more snacks items to enjoy during your stay. For snack ideas read the earlier Kidney Diet Tips post “Nutrition on the Go: Top Travel Tips“.

Eating Out While Traveling

Research local restaurants. Look at menus and have an idea of the best items to order to help you stick to your dietary restrictions. Most restaurant have menus available online. Pack plenty of phosphate binders to ensure you do not run out (add these to the list.) Check out the Dining Out Guide in DaVita Diet Helper. You can reference the Dining Out Guide on your smartphone while at the restaurant to help you make better choices.

Important Contacts

And finally, locate the nearest health clinic, hospital and emergency room near where you will be staying. Add these addresses to the list in your phone. Hopefully, there will be no urgent healthcare needs, but those with end stage renal disease are at a higher risk and it is best to be prepared.

For more information read “Vacation on Dialysis” on DaVita.com.

Good luck preparing and travel safe!

This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment. Consult your physician and dietitian regarding your specific diagnosis, treatment, diet and health questions.

Annie Jacobson, RDN, LN

Annie Jacobson, RDN, LN

Annie Jacobson, RDN, LN has been a registered dietitian for 10 years with the last year spent in the renal specialty. She previously worked in long-term care, gaining a specialty certification in Gerontological nutrition. Annie loves talking to anyone and everyone about nutrition, but only if they ask first. Her passions are family, fitness and nutrition. She recently joined a CrossFit gym and admits she is a little addicted!