Patients on peritoneal dialysis

Plan ahead
It takes planning to make sure your treatment requirements go smoothly while you are away. Leave yourself plenty of time for planning and advance arrangements. The more exotic your destination, the more preparation time you will need. Your program nurse will help you with your necessary travel plans.

Arrange delivery supplies
Your dialysis fluid and associated supplies can be delivered to a wide range of destinations around the world. This will be arranged through the company that manufactures them.

Ensure that staff at the hotel at which you will be staying will be able to receive your peritoneal dialysis supplies a few days before your arrival and store them until you get there. The staff should understand that:

  • the delivery is likely to consist of several boxes, not just a couple of bottles of medicine
  • these supplies should be stored in a clean, dry area, away from direct sunlight

Call your destination 2 or 3 days before your departure to check that your supplies have arrived safely.

APD machines
If flying do not check your APD machine as baggage, but keep it with you at all times. Because the overhead bins vary in size please check with the airlines before traveling.

It is a good idea to carry a letter from your doctor stating that the machine is a medical device that must remain with you. Warn baggage handlers and the bellman that it is fragile and must be treated with care.

Customs
Ask your doctor for a letter confirming that your APD machine and bags of fluid are for medical treatment. The letter should also state that the bags of fluid are not to be opened.

Electricity supply
When you select your accommodation, check that there is a grounded electrical outlet close enough to the bed for the APD machine to be used.

Check that the voltage and type of plug and outlet are compatible with your machine.

Exchanges while traveling
Always discuss your travel itinerary with your peritoneal dialysis nurse, who can advise you on the most suitable places to do your CAPD exchanges.

Most airports, ports, stations, and large tourist attractions have a medical room, where it should be possible to carry out a CAPD exchange. It is worth calling in advance to check what is available. If your itinerary means you won't have to carry out an exchange until you reach your destination, it is still advisable to carry one dialysis bag and any disposables needed for your exchange in your hand luggage in case there are delays.

The same principles you learned during training apply wherever you do your dialysis.

"My first time abroad on peritoneal dialysis was to Australia for my son's surprise 40th birthday party. We had a fantastic time and my confidence in traveling on peritoneal dialysis has grown." - Brian McCrystal

May 1, 2006