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Dialysis for travelers?

Calgary, Alberta
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377 posts
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Dialysis for travelers?

Hi all,

I'm doing some research for my parents here, and there is not one mention of dialysis in any UK forum!

Does anyone know how the dialysis system works in England? My Dad has it 3 times a week, but he's finally stable enough that as long as he can still get his treatments, he can go anywhere the treatment is. He would really like to go back & see London - he hasn't been there since coming to Canada in 1957!

Any info, or links to a site I missed would be greatly appreciated. TIA.

Atlanta, GA
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1. Re: Dialysis for travelers?

Apparently dialysis is somewhat problematic in the UK even for UK citizens. I read in a study from the National Kidney Federation where dialysis patients that should be getting three treatments a week are only getting two. And one of the specific topics raised in a 2003 national conference of the National Kidney Federation was specifically the difficulty of getting dialysis for those on holiday in the UK who need it. Mind you that was two years ago, and hopefully has improved.

Perhaps you can learn something through this site.

http://www.kidney.org.uk/

Good luck. I know your dad would really like to see London again. I was away from my hometown of Atlanta, GA for 3 decades, mostly abroad and coming back here was truly "coming home".

Illinois
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506 posts
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2. Re: Dialysis for travelers?

Hi, MusketeersPlus2! How generous that you're doing research for your parents. Bravo!

Please forgive me if I'm suggesting something that you've already considered or tried, but could your father's doctor or the location where he receives his dialysis now help you find a location that he could use while in the UK? I know that your health system in Canada is different from ours in the US, but this could be worth a try. Failing that, could a university or teaching hospital in the UK offer any help? I've seen very general references to the "Royal College of Surgeons" in London, and this seems to refer to medical study in general, and not just surgery.

Good luck with your enquiry!

London, UK
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3. Re: Dialysis for travelers?

I'm sure that your research will be full & thorough.

I would expect that your father will require an carefully managed arrangement with one of the private London hospitals.

Should your father require dialysis/treatment on the National Health Service (categorised as an emergency), he will be charged for his treatment (afterwards, I hasten to add), so medical insurance policy will need to cover this.

Provision of dialysis in the UK is variable. Many hospitals have dialysis machines donated by charitable fundraising.

UK
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4. Re: Dialysis for travelers?

Depends on if he has dialysis at home or in hospital, if at home than arrange a temporary GP at your destination and they will organise a District Nurse to visit to set it up if help is needed, if at hospital I would take the insurance route and check into a private hospital or private wing at NHS hospital as the NHS funded units are already strained with NHS patients on regular dialysis. You may have to have a nurse escort inflight too.

UK
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5. Re: Dialysis for travelers?

Should have also added that you should explain that you are a tourist not traveller - travellers is the name given to gypsy families on the road, especially amongst the health and education system.

Calgary, Alberta
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6. Re: Dialysis for travelers?

Thanks for the tip on tourist vs. traveler 5ofus! I'm sure even my Dad has forgotten that distinction.

I think his best bet is going to be arranging it through a private hospital then. He is dialyzing in a hospital setting, so setting up with a GP and nurse won't be an option. Luckily, he also won't need an inflight nurse escort because he's stable on his dialysis. He also has no other health problems. I know that sounds strange for a man in his 70s, but really, this kidney failure is an out of the blue thing. He went from completely healthly and active to end-stage renal failure in 2 years. No diabetes, no cancer - nothing. His doctors are using him as a study currently.

I will definitely check out that website too.

Thanks everyone!

Calgary, Alberta
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7. Re: Dialysis for travelers?

BTW, sarah 224 - you're right that we should be able to go through the travel co-ordinator at his center, because that IS the way you're supposed to do it... unfortunately this lady is utterly useless, even for travel within Canada where she really does have all the info! My Mom and I did all the research for their trip to Puerto Vallarta last month and even came back with pictures of the unit down there. Her "excuse" was that she didn't think it was worth her time for somewhere only one patient was interested in. This woman is no into doing her job, and in a union environment, unfortunately there's nothing we can do about her. Hence, I come here!

You guys are all fabulous!

UK
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8. Re: Dialysis for travelers?

You are lucky to be visiting London, it will give you a better choice of facilities, just make sure that the unit uses specialist nurses and ask how many doctors are on duty, I personally prefer private units within NHS hospitals, simply because you have back up staff and better management of complications. Might be worth a phone call to a regional unit such as Kings College hospital www.kingsch.nhs.uk. I would ask them to recommend a unit.

Upminster, United...
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9. Re: Dialysis for travelers?

A similar question was asked in The Mail on Sunday for a British traveling to Europe. They suggested

The British Kidney Patients Association britishkidney-pa.co.uk/holidays_index.html

The National Kidney Federation www.kidney.org.uk/holidays/index.html

or www.globaldialysis.com

Portskewett, United...
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10. Re: Dialysis for travelers?

My Dad is about to start dialysis - but he is opting for the Periteneal with bags - its amazing that they have told him that once he is "up and running" they will arrange for the dialysis fluid bags to be delivered anywhere in the world - as they write it into the contrats of the suppliers that they have to do this.

When we were discussing the forms of dialysis - they told us that if he had hemo - dialysis (on a machine) that it would be easy to arrange dialysis anywhere else in Europe for free, but that in another part of Britain it would be very difficult! Isn't it ironic!

So I think everyone else is right - organise with a private service and double check just before leaving that they haven't been "bought" by the NHS!! - lots of that going on at the moment to get waiting lists down.

Good Luck!

Sarah