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Emergency planning and dialysis

Emergency planning and dialysis?

What you need to know to be ready

Earthquakes, floods, fire, and strong tropical storms can bring periods without power and water and may even require you to leave your home to be safe. 
 
Having a detailed disaster plan is important for everyone, but especially important for people living on dialysis.
 
Start with these basic tips:
  • Work with your care team to make sure you’re prepared for an emergency and know what to do if a disaster occurs.
  • Have a two-week supply of your medications.
  • Have a two-week supply of emergency food. Ask your Registered Dietitian for a shopping list. 
  • Keep a supply of clean water, but drink very little if you’re unable to dialyze.
  • Keep an updated list of phone numbers of family and friends. 
  • Keep a list of dialysis centers in your area which you could used in case of an emergency, including addresses and phone numbers. 
  • Prepare an “Emergency Box” with hand sanitizer, masks, flashlights, batteries, hand cranked radio, bleach and other necessities.
  • If you work outside the home, maintain a supply of medications at your workplace or in your car. 
  • Wear a medical emblem and carry your medical information card with you at all times.
 

Plan for emergencies for greater peace of mind

During a major disaster, your center may not be open. Power, water, phones, and transportation may not be available. Make sure that you’ve done everything possible to prepare for a flood, fire, earthquake or other emergency.
1

Keep Extra Supplies

Keep an extra week’s worth of supplies to enable you to dialyze if you have power.
2

Know when to reduce treatment frequency

During training, your dialysis nurse explains how to adjust frequency if the situation requires it. Know where in your training materials this information can be found.
3

Call your dialysis care team

Do your best to call your dialysis care team. They want to know you’re safe and are ready to help you if you need supplies or information. If you’re not having a medical emergency but can’t  reach your center during a disaster, call the Satellite Healthcare Patient Comment and Disaster Hotline: 800.367.8292
1

Keep Extra Supplies

Keep seven (7) days’ worth of manual CAPD supplies on hand in case of a power outage. Rotate supplies and check expiration dates of peritoneal dialysis supplies every six months.
2

Know how to perform manual exchanges

Learn to perform manual CAPD exchanges. If electrical power is lost, switch from CCPD to manual CAPD. Consider getting an alternative/backup power option.
3

Call your dialysis care team

Do your best to call your dialysis care team. They want to know you’re safe and are ready to help you if you need supplies or information. If you’re not having a medical emergency but can’t reach your center during a disaster, call the Satellite Healthcare Patient Comment and Disaster Hotline: 800.367.8292
1

Wait for instructions

During a disaster, wait for instructions from a staff member if you’re at the center. 

If a staff member isn’t available and you must leave the building, use the emergency supplies to disconnect from the dialysis machine if you’re on dialysis.

2

Know how to use emergency supplies for the dialysis machine

When you begin dialysis, and every few months, your care team will show you what to do if a disaster or emergency happens while you’re connected to the dialysis machine. Emergency supplies are located on your dialysis machine in a red zippered bag.
3

Call your dialysis care team

If you’re at home when an emergency happens, do your best to call your dialysis care team. They want to know you’re  safe and are ready to help you if you need treatment at a different location or other information. If you’re not having a medical emergency but can’t  reach your center during a disaster, call the Satellite Healthcare Patient Comment and Disaster Hotline: 800.367.8292.

Sample daily disaster meal plan if you can’t get dialysis

If you’re unable to dialyze during a disaster, you must limit what you eat and drink. Limit yourself to these servings of food each day. 

This food list is much more limited than you would normally use. It’s meant to prevent buildup of excess fluid and waste products in case dialysis isn’t available on your regular schedule.
Milk
1/3 cup per day
Milk, cream, sour cream, milk substitute
 
Meat/Protein
2-3 oz. per day

Canned, salt-free meat, chicken, turkey, tuna, shrimp, crab



 

Bread or Starch
2 to 4 servings per day
Dry cereal, bread, pasta, rice, cookies, unsalted crackers

Vegetables
2 half-cup servings per day
Corn, carrots, green beans, peas

Fruits
2 half-cup servings per day
Applesauce, cherries, peaches, pears, pineapples, plums

Fats
6 or more teaspoons per day
Salt-free salad dressings, margarine, oils

Sweets
Use as desired (but with caution if you have diabetes.)
Sugar, hard candy, gumdrops, jellybeans, jam

Beverages
Drink only in extreme thirst
Bottled water, Kool-Aid®, apple/cranberry/grape juice, nectars, soda

Download (LINK)
3-day emergency diet when dialysis is not possible
Download 3-day emergency diet

Prescriptions and staying healthy during an emergency

  • Know the names and strengths of your medications and how often to take them; know which are absolutely necessary.
  • Know your dialysis prescription and keep a written copy of it in your emergency supply kit.
  • Keep at least a two-week supply of medications on hand at all times. Check expiration dates regularly and rotate medications in your emergency supply kit.
  • If you wear prescription lenses, keep an extra pair of eyeglasses with your emergency supply kit.
 
emergency planning for dialysis patients

Call your center

If you’re at home when an emergency happens, do your best to call your dialysis care team. They want to know you’re safe and are ready to help you if you need treatment or other information. If you’re not having a medical emergency but can’t reach your center during a disaster, call the Satellite Healthcare Patient Comment and Disaster Hotline: 800.367.8292.

emergency go bag

Make an Emergency Go-Bag

The best time to prepare for a disaster or emergency is now. People living with dialysis should create an ‘Emergency Go-Bag,’ with key life-saving items. Download this handout to get started on creating your Go-Bag so you can be ready if disaster comes.

home water purification

Make water safe

After a natural disaster, water may not be safe to use. Germs and chemicals may be in the water. Listen to local officials to find out if your water is safe. Learn how to use bleach to help make water safe to drink, wash things, and other non dialysis uses.