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Preparing to travel with a relative who has a kidney condition

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It’s no secret that as people get older, the chances of developing long-term medical conditions increases. When it comes to travelling, this doesn’t put an end to dreams of exploring the world, but it does require an extra bit of planning and preparation.

This is especially true of kidney conditions. Anyone who suffers impaired kidney function or who has undergone a kidney transplant will need to undergo regular dialysis. This adds an extra complication to making travel plans, although it is by no means insurmountable.

One thing an older patient can do to assist with their medical needs while away is arrange to travel with family members. Having that extra support is both a sensible practical step and an emotional safety net should something go wrong.

But what that does mean is that relatives have to pick up the burden of planning and looking after their loved one while they are away?

In this article, we will look at some of the key things you need to think about when planning on travelling with an elderly relative who has a kidney condition.

Arranging dialysis

The most important part of planning a trip with anyone who requires regular dialysis is arranging treatment while you are away. This should start right at the very beginning when you are deciding where to travel and when. The first thing you need to ensure is that there is a dialysis treatment centre within easy reach of your chosen destination.

Then you need to contact the local facility and check they will be able to accommodate your relative on the dates you plan to be there – dialysis can take several hours and machine capacity at many centres is limited. You might need to be flexible about when you go away just to guarantee getting an appointment when required.

It’s a good idea to ask for help with this stage at the dialysis centre your relative regularly attends. They will have access to listings for treatment centres around the world, and will even be able to make enquiries and introductions on your behalf.

Thinking about diet

Some people on regular dialysis have to follow a special low sodium diet to protect their kidneys. This should come into your thinking when booking accommodation. On the one hand, self-catering gives you full control over any meals you prepare yourself, but could pose issues if you wanted to eat out at cafes and restaurants. If you don’t like the prospect of having to do all your own cooking all holiday, you could opt for half board, full board or all-inclusive options, but you would have to notify your hotel about the special dietary requirements well in advance.

The same applies to your airline, to ensure your relative gets a low sodium meal during flights.

Getting the right travel insurance

For anyone undergoing regular dialysis, it is absolutely essential that you seek out a specialist provider offering bespoke kidney condition travel insurance. Many mainstream insurance companies simply will not offer cover for someone with a kidney condition, because they will view the risk of them needing to make a medical claim while they are away as too high.

The essential point is that medical treatment, including dialysis, has to be paid for when you are abroad. If your relative doesn’t have the right policy in place, they will face the choice of either not getting the treatment they need, or having to pay a significant sum for it.


Image by engin akyurt from Pixabay

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