Weathering the Storm When you Need Dialysis Treatments

When you're on dialysis and have your treatments completed at a nearby hospital or medical facility, getting there isn't usually a problem. You drive yourself, take public transportation, or have a friend or caregiver get you to your appointment.

Some patients only need dialysis treatments a few times a week, while others need treatment more often to handle the work the kidneys can't. You know how important it is to keep your appointments to protect your health, so you make the necessary arrangements. But do you have a dialysis plan prepared when Mother Nature and Old Man Winter collide?

That's the situation thousands of dialysis patients found themselves in across the Midwest and East coast last winter and again this year. In fact, many places along the East coast have been literally buried in snow. Boston capped off the season last year with a new record-level of snowfall that dumped 108.6 inches of snow on the city in one season (over 9 feet).

All the snow, freezing rain, and ice mixed with windy conditions have made some days next to impossible and certainly unsafe to be driving. But if your health depends on getting kidney dialysis treatment, then what? Fortunately, it's a question many people prepared for with studded and winter tires, snow chains, four-wheel drive, and alternative transportation plans. In many communities, city and county health departments stepped in to help dialysis patients get to treatment.

Some people were even transported by ambulance during the worst storms to protect their health and ensure they received the necessary dialysis treatment. Others coordinated their schedule and treatment with their doctor, and made adjustments to their diet when necessary, if their typical schedule had to be adjusted because of the weather.

Tips for Dialysis patients for weathering storms:

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 you're forced to miss your dialysis treatment.

There is much more important information to be found in this guide.