The NKF Holiday Pages - Guidelines for Haemodialysis Patients
Find a unit - Finding a suitable unit for HD will mean you may need to be a little more flexible in terms of choice of destination, since obviously you will need to be in easy reach of an HD unit which can accommodate you. There are plenty of exotic locations with HD units, and even special cruises designed for dialysis patients. See the links on the main Holiday Page for details of units in the UK and around the world.
Keep your renal unit advised of any research you are doing directly - they may need to give you certain criteria (eg infection control policy) for your “holiday” unit.
- Do they accept visitors?
- Specify the date you would like to go.
- (If in the European Union) Are they a state-run hospital or a private clinic?
- Will there be a charge? If so how much per dialysis session?
- Do they accept form E111 for dialysis?
- Do they accept patients who are HIV positive, have Aids or Hepatitis? If the answer to any of these questions is “yes” you should inform your own renal unit before making the booking.
If you are satisfied with the answers and wish to proceed, then ask your renal consultant to make the necessary arrangements. The receiving hospital will require medical details and there is a standard form E111D which should be completed by your hospital doctor. Some units have their own form instead of E111D.
Organise assistance at ports, airports etc - If you tire easily, or have problems with mobility, most airports now offer wheelchairs and/or chauffeured “buggies”, which will whisk you through check-in the departure procedures and passport control in minutes. Ferry ports, railway stations and many special attractions also offer this type of assistance. You will need to book this in advance - your travel agent should be able to help you or you can simply ring direct to see what help is available and book your buggy.
Transportation to the unit - Make sure you make arrangements for travel to and from the unit you will be using while on holiday. The unit at your destination may be able to help you with this, or your hotel may be able to arrange a taxi for you. If you make the arrangements for transportation, make sure you allow plenty of time, and take into account extra time for rush hour if the times of your appointments make it likely you will get caught in this.
Differences in treatment - Bear in mind that there may be slight differences in the equipment and procedures used by the unit you visit than those you are used to. Discuss what these might be with your “home” renal unit in advance so you are not taken unawares.
Some units/clinics do not offer injections of lignocaine before needling but pop the needles right in. Take your own lignocaine if you feel you will need it.
At the end of your holiday buy the staff a small gift as a thank you, leave a good impression of English patients.
The Eurodial website has lists of useful phrases for HD patients, such as “the arterial needle is placed here”, “I normally dialyse at ....mn Hg positive and ...mn Hg negative pressure” and “May I have a blanket” in French, Spanish, German and Italian.
Costs - Make sure you are aware of any costs involved for your dialysis while on holiday. Some countries have reciprocal arrangements with the UK for dialysis (including the countries covered by the European Health Insurance Card (E111)). However, since the reciprocal agreements allow UK citizens the same care as would be provided to the citizens of the country you are visiting, there may be a portion of the cost which you will need to pay.
The National Kidney Federation cannot accept responsibility for information provided. The above is for guidance only.