Dialysis therapy is not necessarily an obstacle to enjoying a full life.
However, there are few recommendations that you should keep in mind when traveling inside and outside of Colombia.
One of the advantages of Peritoneal Dialysis (PD) is the flexibility that the patient has for
traveling and accompanying their family on vacation or visiting people in other
cities and countries. Most doctors encourage their patients to travel if their health is stable, since there are people who must travel for work or personal reasons, and “trips raise their morale and give them a feeling of well-being,” as indicated by the American organization National Kidney Foundation..
In any event, patients must follow the advice of specialists so that they do not interrupt or complicate their treatment where they are visiting.
Let your doctor know
The first thing that the patient should do is to notify the dialysis center where they are being treated about their destination and the planned number of travel days. This way, the dialysis center at the place of destination is contacted so that the treatment supplies can be delivered to the site that the patient is visiting.
For national trips, notice must be given one month in advance, whereas for
international trips, notice must be given two months in advance. The reason for this is that patients can receive their supplies at the site where they are staying, but they must remain there for a minimum of 15 days, since that is the minimum amount of supplies sent for therapy.
Flexibility with dates
The National Kidney Foundation also recommends keeping in mind that in some cases, the patient may need to be advised to change their travel dates if the kidney unit at the place of destination does not have availability on the requested dates. Sometimes, contacting one or several centers is necessary before traveling in order to find one that has availability in that place. Once you have arrived, it is important to confirm the requested spot.
Now, if the request is made with enough time in advance and the dialys centers
come to an agreement, the request can be made for a shorter period of time. Nevertheless, in this case, the dialysis center at the place of destination requests the supplies from the warehouse and the patient is required to pick them up directly at the indicated site.
If your trip is longer…
For longer trips within the country (more than three months), the patient is permanently transferred
to the other dialysis center, where the aim is that the patient continues receiving the same integral care. As such, the room conditions where the dialysis is conducted should be the same as the place of origin: the room and the bathroom should be clean and in good conditions, and the patient should have guaranteed access to basic services, such as electricity and drinking water. Likewise, it is ideal if the windows and doors are able to be closed to avoid air currents.
What should the patient take with him/herself?
Apart from basic documentation, the traveler should take their clinical history and most recent test results, along with any medications that he/she is taking at that time with the corresponding prescription. Even though this information will be shared by one center to the other, the patient should also have a copy on hand.
Other key recommendations
Patients who are undergoing dialysis can travel as usual, but it is important that they avoid touristic plans that may tire them out too much. The food and drinks they consume should still adhere to the their doctor's recommended diet for the most part, and they should continue taking their medications as usual. Lastly, the companions and family members should be notified of the person's plans to travel, and of the contact phone numbers at the place of destination and where to find a copy of their medical records.