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Traveling While on Dialysis

Dialysis and traveling CAN go together. For the peritoneal dialysis patient, it is relatively effortless: locate a facility to contact in case of emergency, coordinate delivery of supplies if the supplies you will need are too cumbersome to carry yourself, pack your bags and go!

For the hemodialysis patient, the task becomes a little more involved: plan at least one (1) month ahead of time, locate a facility, make arrangements to be dialyzed during your stay, coordinate insurance and medical paperwork, pack your bags and go!

Medicare will only cover dialysis within the U.S. or its territories. Check with your other insurance carrier to see what restrictions they may have. There are several websites available to assist you in traveling while on dialysis:
  • The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has a wonderful site, Dialysis Facility Compare, that not only provides information on dialysis facilities in a specific area, including proximity to destination, but also has information on services offered and facilities' overall quality measures ratings. The site is easy to navigate and offers locator options such as state, city, county, zip code, and facility name.
  • Global Dialysis offers listings of units in 115 countries. A patient developed the site, and in addition to offering listings of units in various locales, it also provides information about cruises, tours, and lodging that cater to dialysis patients.
  • Dialysis Finder provides a search for dialysis centers anywhere in the U.S.A. The site also provides mapping of the centers in your search area.
  • Dialysis at Sea offers cruises for dialysis patients. Patients need to be aware that Medicare will not pay for treatment on these cruises.
  • CiteHealth  offers consumers an opportunity to rate their experiences with providers. See if the unit(s) you are planning to visit have been reviewed. Consider rating your own experience when you return.
  • National Kidney Foundation's Travel Tips: A Guide for Kidney Patients answer frequently asked questions about traveling while on dialysis.
All of these sites are user-friendly and good resources for locating facilities for the traveling dialysis patient. Always share your plans with your dialysis team as they will have to assist you in forwarding your medical information.

Bon Voyage!