Emergencies and disasters often happen without warning, so it is important to prepare before they happen. When you are on dialysis, disasters can make it hard for you to get your treatment because of changes to water, power, sanitation, or transportation. It is important to read and understand your dialysis facility’s disaster plan and to make alternative arrangements for your treatment before and emergency happens.
Helpful Tips to Ensure You are Prepared
Pack an Emergency Kit
- Include medical supplies such as:
- Five-to-seven–day supply Personal Information Form of all prescription medicines. Check the expiration dates of all of your medications each month. Use and replace the ones that are due to expire.
- Five-day supply of antibiotics if you are on peritoneal dialysis and it is recommended by your doctor.
- If you have diabetes, consider adding these items:
- Glucose meter, one spare battery and testing fluid.
- Five-to-seven–day supply of blood sugar test strips and lancets.
- Five-to-seven–day supply of syringes and insulin if you use insulin. (Keep insulin cool but do not freeze it. It is best kept in the refrigerator, but it can be kept at room temperature for up to a month.)
- Glucose (glucose tablets, Glucagon, oral glucose gel) in case your sugar level drops.
- Included a completed Personal Information Form with a list of people and organizations you will need to reach. Family, household members, caregivers, and friends will want to know where you are. They may even be able to help you safely leave your home, if you need to. Include on your list your nephrologist (kidney doctor) and your dialysis facility. You will need to let them know if you can’t get your treatments.
- Have copies of your identification and medical information:
- Driver’s license, ID card, and/or US permanent resident card
- Social Security card
- Healthcare insurance card
- Treatment orders
- Legal documents (i.e., advance directive, do not resuscitate (DNR) order, or medical power of attorney information
- Include alternative arrangements for your treatment before an emergency.
- If you get hemodialysis at a dialysis facility:
- Make sure your dialysis facility has your current street address and phone number(s) in case they need to contact you.
- Make arrangements for back-up transportation to your dialysis facility.
- Ask your dialysis facility about other dialysis facilities near you that can treat you if your dialysis facility closes.
- If you perform home hemodialysis:
- Contact your water and power companies to register for special priority to restore your lost services. Keep their phone numbers up-to-date on your Personal Information Form.
- Keep a flashlight and batteries near your dialysis machine.
- Contact your local dialysis facility about back-up treatment locations both near to and far from your home.
- If you use Continuous Ambulatory Peritoneal Dialysis (CAPD):
- Keep the battery charged at all times if you use an ultraviolet device. (NOTE: The charge should last for three days.)
- As directed by your dialysis team, keep a five-to-seven–day supply of peritoneal dialysis supplies at home. Check expiration dates and replace as needed, or every six months.
- If you use Continuous Cycling Peritoneal Dialysis (CCPD):
- Learn and practice manual CAPD, so if you lose power, you can switch from CCPD to manual CAPD.
- As directed by your dialysis team, keep a five-to-seven–day supply of CCPD (and CAPD if you have learned to do manual CAPD) supplies available. Check the expiration dates, and replace as needed.
- Contact your water and power companies ahead of time to register for special priority to restore your lost services. Keep their phone numbers up-to-date on your Personal Information Form.
There are many ways that authorities share emergency warnings, updates, and safety instructions. Take steps now to make sure you’ll get the information you need when an emergency happens.
Finding a dyalisis facility near you: