By Bill Peckham
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has published "Preparing for Emergencies: A Guide for People on Dialysis." since 1999 (last updated in 2002) it directs dialyzors to start their emergency diet now if they will be impacted by Irene. But for some reason I can not find a working link to the publication on the Medicare.gov website. However, thanks to the ongoing discussion on IHD (here, here) I have uploadedd the PDF for DSEN Download EmergPrep_CMSPub10150
The information on page 5 and 6 should form the primary message to dialyzors in the path of Irene (my emphasis):
Helpful Tips in an Emergency
- Stay at home unless you are hurt, as long as it is safe to do so. Instructions for dialysis patients may be available on TV, radio, or by phone or messenger. Depending on the nature of the emergency, you might want to call your dialysis facility or doctor, because he or she might be able to help you manage this emergency.
- Take a fanny pack or backpack stocked with emergency supplies, food, and medication with you if you will be away from home when severe weather or a natural disaster is predicted.
- Make sure your dialysis facility knows where to find you.
- Start your emergency diet (see page 22) as soon as an emergency situation is predicted or occurs, if it could delay your next regular dialysis treatment.
- If you must go to a shelter, tell the person in charge about your special health needs.
- If you need medical treatment, make sure your dialysis access is not used for anything other than your dialysis treatment. No one should use your access to give you fluid or medication.
- Follow the instructions in this booklet to be prepared.
Remember: Hospitals may not be able to give you maintenance dialysis treatments.
- Make arrangements for dialysis at your destination, or have necessary equipment or supplies delivered ahead of time.
- Carry an extra 2-3 day supply of all your medicines/supplies in your hand-carried luggage and keep it with you at all times. A fanny pack or backpack may be more convenient. If your luggage is lost or misplaced, you will still be able to take your medicine until it is found or you can get another supply
The key, in the case of a hurricane, is number 4. Start your emergency diet as soon as the situation is predicted.
The issue I have with the publication, and why I hope CMS is updating this important guide, is the emergency diet it recommends (starting on page 22). Much better emergency diet options are available, but that's a discussion for another day, right now the lede of every renal community communication to those that may be impacted by Irene should be: Start Your Emergency Diet Now.