| Other pages: Dialysis Konnections and our Australian Dialysis Unit Guide
If well enough, with careful planning, a holiday can boost your confidence and well being. However, when you live with chronic disease there are major road blocks to negotiate before you can travel sensibly.
Home dialysis on the road
- Ensure you have funds to cover costs for health emergencies, treatment and medicine. Dialysis treatment can be expensive!
- Do not organise dialysis without talking with your health team about how travel may affect your health.
Quick reference guide to help planning your dialysis ‘on the road’ - download Home dialysis on the road>
Booking travel dialysis arrangements in Australia
With increasing demand for dialysis lack of spare chairs is a problem in some areas - sessions should always be booked well in advance. When arrangements are made, confirm dialysis session times in advance - you must be flexible.
Private dialysis in Australia may offer temporary dialysis but charge a fee for treatment
Capacity is a problem even in private units. If available, approx cost $450 to $650 per treatment (South Australia), with eastern states $800 to $900 per treatment depending on location. Ensure you book in advance, get a firm quote and confirmation of treatment dates. Minimum 1 month notice essential.
Medically required medications
Work out your medical costs before making travel plans including medication. Many countries including Australia only allow medically required medication cover for a maximum of 3 months (maximum dosage). Ensure your doctor writes an up to date treatment letter setting out health and medication. Your Dialysis Unit should also provide an introduction letter noting your treatment details - Travel overseas with PBS medications.
Medicare 132 011 - or locate a Medicare office
TTY 1800 552152 for hearing/speech impaired - 131 450 interpreting service
Reciprocal Health Care Agreements information - call Travel with PBS Medicine Enquiry 1800 500 147
For Aussies with kidney disease wanting to travel
or Department of Human Services 132 290
Australia's Reciprocal Health Agreements
Medicare: Australians traveling overseas and Visitors to Australia
Health Insurance Consultants - independent overview of Australian Reciprocal Health Agreements
Australian Dialysis Unit Guide (DUG) Use our DUG to locate a Dialysis Unit in Australia
BigDandMe - Holiday Dialysis Blog Aussie stories of Holiday Dialysis adventures
Dialysis Escape Line: Australia PD & haemo - dialysis nurses on all cruises - call 08 8227 0181 or Wayne Cooper 0448 588 880. Dalysis Abroad International escorted tours on dialysis 08 8362 6657.
NephroCare Australia - Fresenius Travel and dialysis Fresenius - Dialysis Clinic Finder
RenalInfo Support and Resources (Baxter) all countries including Australia
Compare the Market Find private health insurance which may cover chronic disease, including dialysis
Private Health Insurance - Ombudsman 1800 640 695
Private Health (Australian Government) compare health insurance policies 1300 737 299
Travel Doctor Australian Traveler's Medical & Vaccination Centre Travel Kits Medical
||Booking ahead is essential - no guarantee space available - click links in red below
Session fees apply for private units listed here
EnableNSW - The Away From Home Haemodialysis Program>
Eligible haemodialysis patients can access dialysis services at no cost when traveling away from home, for education, work, holidays. Subject to availability & funding – eligible patients may access up to 3 sessions a year at a participating private renal unit (N/A Tasmania) away from usual place of residence. Register online - only if NSW resident!
Newcastle: Wansey Dialysis Centre - John Hunter Hospital NSW>
Call Team Leader, High Dependency 02 4943 9635 or send written request to:
Wansey Dialysis Centre, 1A Dudley Road Charlestown NSW 2290
|Alice Springs Renal Unit (public) Staff try to keep shift for travelers - advance notice essential. Visit MacDonnell Ranges or Standley Chasm - call Dialysis Unit 08 8951 6750.
Alice Springs - Dialysis Unit (private - dialysis fees apply) Fresenius.
||Townsville Renal Unit Call 07 4433 2650 - private/public units have capacity problems, but worth trying.
Caloundra Private Renal Unit - (dialysis fees apply) read brochure first, then call 07 5492 0215 for enquiries.
Launceston Community Health Centre Renal Unit
Call 03 6336 5132 - dialysis sessions for those from North/ North West Tasmania - advance notice essential.
Dialysis & Transplant Association of Victoria D.A.T.A. datavic.org/index.html
Support group - members may access low cost holiday homes, to enable family holidays with dialysis
Kyabram & District Health Services
Provide holiday dialysis: *Tues *Thurs *Sat (morning) call Natalie Sheehan 03 5857 0217.
Lorne Satellite Dialysis Unit - Satellite unit of Geelong Hospital (Barwon Health).
M-W-F am sessions. Xmas to February, dialysis unit open 2 morning sessions (Mon to Sat) but no renal physician on site. Enquiries firstname.lastname@example.org or call 03 5289 4300 - refer to travel brochure>
BIG RED KIDNEY MOBILE DIALYSIS BUS - BOOKINGS NOW OPEN!
Provides holiday dialysis initially at Victorian holiday spots for up to 6 weeks at a time, parked at local caravan parks. Dialysis patients will need holiday accommodation, but can dialyse on our Big Red Kidney Bus, so they can enjoy a real holiday with family and friends. We need your help to develop this project nationally. For more - go to Big Red Kidney Bus>
TRAVEL FREEDOM ON DIALYSIS - CAMPERVAN PROGRAM
An exciting initiative which can provide respite or holiday dialysis options for Australians living with kidney disease. Each Kidney Campervan will be fitted with dialysis machines (see prototype) initially available in Queensland. Future plans will expand this program nationally. See media>
The Wade family made a generous startup $50,000 donation to the dialysis campervan program. Every dollar raised helps put a fleet on the road. To raise further funds the Vintage Adventurer travels in his 1930 Model ‘A’ Ford through remote locations - the intrepid team recently drove across America, from East to West on Route 66. For more details, visit Vintage Adventure>
SUBSCRIBE for your e-copy of Kidney Community News
We would all love to hear about your path with kidney disease, particularly any travel adventures you may have enjoyed on dialysis or post transplant.
Email Cassandra Bradshaw, the Editor of Kidney Community News at email@example.com with suggestions for articles.
firstname.lastname@example.org with your request, or simply call 1800 454 363 - our staff will help
In Australia and overseas, be aware delays can be expected if a bed in a public hospital isn’t available. Even if eligible for free treatment you may prefer to have control over treatment using travel health cover.
If you travel overseas you may get some help with cost of essential medical treatment in some countries under Australia's Government’s Reciprocal Health Care Agreements. Click here to find out more - Australians overseas - entitlements for treatment under RHCA> New Zealand, the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland, Sweden, the Netherlands, Finland, Italy, Belgium, Malta, Slovenia and Norway.
Countries under Australian RHCAs which may cover medically necessary treatment INCLUDING dialysis: Netherlands - New Zealand - United Kingdom for eligible visitors, but note, there are limits.
These RHCA Agreements mean:
- Australian residents can get help with cost of essential medical treatment when visiting these countries
- residents of these countries can get some essential medical treatments while visiting Australia.
Each agreement is different and varies in benefits for medically necessary treatment, duration and eligibility. This is a complex area of travel health cover, especially if you have multiple chronic health conditions.Reciprocal Health Care Agreements are not designed to replace private travel health insurance for overseas travel.
Not all treatment is covered under an RHCA
Exceptions where no cover will be available are pre-arranged or elective treatment not immediately necessary, ambulance cover and paramedical services, dental care, medical evacuation to a home country, funerals, treatment in private hospital, or as a private patient in a public hospital. Private travel cover, or ample funds available are essential in these circumstances.
To receive medically necessary treatment for any ill-health or injury whilst visiting an RHCA country, provide local health authorities with:
For more information on Reciprocal Health Care Agreements, call Traveling with PBS medicine enquiry line on 1800 500 147 or call Department of Human Services 132 290.
- Australian passport or other passport which shows you are a permanent Australian resident
- valid Medicare card - check expiry date to ensure you cover until you return to Australia
- if known treatment is expected, advise medical staff you wish to be treated under an RHCA with Australia, to establish dialysis capacity. Be aware co-payments apply - and there are limits.
Medicare 132 011 - to locate a Medicare office
TTY 1800 552152 for hearing/speech impaired - 131 450 interpreting service
Visitors to Australia - entitlements for treatment under RHCA>
As a resident of an overseas RHCA country you are entitled to medically necessary treatment for ill-health or injury whilst in Australia, but this does not include treatment considered ongoing, elective or treatment in a private hospital. You may be entitled to:
- free treatment as a public in-patient or outpatient in a public hospital
- subsidised medicine under Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS)
- Medicare benefits to cover some out-of-hospital medical treatment provided by doctors through surgeries and community health centres - be aware that a co-payment usually applies
VISITORS TO AUSTRALIA - ON DIALYSIS OR POST TRANSPLANT
RHCA eligible visitors to Australia may be entitled to use dialysis services in Australia as a public patient
The number of dialysis treatments available depends on availability of resources of a treating hospital! Australia has agreed to provide RHCA visitors with free dialysis for the lesser of: either a maximum period of 4 weeks (covering all service sites) OR a maximum 12 sessions, within a 12 month period from date of first treatment.
Dialysis in Medicare funded dialysis units (public) for eligible patients is based on clinical need!
The ability of the Australian health system to fund eligible overseas patients must not interfere with the physical, clinical and/or financial capacity of any Area Health Service to meet clinical priorities for Australian residents.
In reality, travelers needing dialysis may have difficulty in finding spare capacity in public Australian Dialysis Units. Dialysis is limited to one RHCA patient at each site, subject to staffing and resources - each state may impose their own limits on free treatments offered.
If traveling on a Student Visa in any RHCA country - you must arrange Overseas Student Health Cover.
Should you need dialysis or treatment if transplanted, confirm that you will be covered. Students from Norway, Finland, Malta and Republic of Ireland are NOT covered by RHCA agreements with these countries.
Most temporary visitors to Australia are not covered under an RHCA
Overseas visitors on temporary visas are not eligible for Australian Medicare benefits for emergency treatment. Medicare benefits are not an option for general medical care. It is strongly recommended travelers with a chronic disease try to acquire some level of travel and private health insurance. If no cover is possible, ensure sufficient funds are available to cover any medications and treatment.
Dialysis is NOT covered under these RHCA agreements - it covers emergency treatment only
Visitors from New Zealand and Republic of Ireland should present their passport to Australian hospital clerical staff to be eligible for cover under Medicare. Access to public health care in Australia for visitors under an RHCA is restricted to a person ordinarily resident in the Republic of Ireland and temporarily in Australia. Such visitors will not be issued with Medicare cards.
Visitors from Finland - Norway - Sweden must take your passport and travel visa to a Medicare office to be registered and given a Medicare number. This card and number must be presented to hospital clerical staff to prove Medicare eligibility. Registration may be done during or after your hospital stay. If you do not register you may be liable for the costs of treatment.
Visitors from Belgium - Slovenia - Netherlands present your current European Health Card and passport. Residents of Malta and Italy are only covered for six months from date of arrival.
Considering skilled work in Australia? You and your family must be healthy - strict health criteria!
Overseas Skilled Workers: health requirements: Australian Immigration Refer to Fact Sheet 22
Translated resources - Australian Immigration Department
TRAVEL HEALTH INSURANCE WHEN YOU HAVE KIDNEY DISEASE
When you have any chronic disease be realistic about likelihood of buying travel insurance for a preexisting condition.
Consider locations in Australia as a better option to travel overseas, remote or long distance travel. Don’t book travel until you are covered by travel health insurance and have a sufficient budget for any emergency.
Will you qualify for travel health insurance?
If you had private health insurance cover when you developed a chronic condition you may be able to obtain travel cover from your health insurance company. If you had a complex path to kidney failure, are experiencing dialysis issues, or multiple health conditions, you may not find a travel insurer.
Consider basic travel insurance to cover emergencies
Pay for travel with a credit card which offers some level of travel insurance, or consider basic travel insurance via a union, bank or even Superannuation. Ask questions about travel insurance, especially if you have multiple preexisting health conditions. Most travel cover will exclude existing chronic conditions. Some level of travel insurance is strongly advised. We recommend you use an insurance broker to find suitable travel insurance as they have wider access to conditions which will fit your needs.
As a guide: travel insurance MAY be granted if you have kidney disease, have had a transplant at least six months old; there must never have been a rejection or infection and your overall health must be stable. Travel insurance will NOT usually cover anyone on a transplant waiting list or with a complex health history.
Travel insurance agencies who are known to offer cover to people post transplant
Any applicant is assessed on their individual health - if your health does not meet the company's criteria, you are likely to be refused.
Travel insurance agencies who may have offered cover to people post transplant include:
*Australia Post Travel Insurance (extra premium) *Allianz Australia -Travel Insurance *Cover-More Travel Scene *Chartis Travel *Columbus Direct *Travel Scene Insurance *Worldcare Travel Insurance Australia
Compare travel cover and conditions using www.comparethemarket.com.au
Useful reading: Getting help when travelling overseas * Importance of travel Insurance
Australian Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade
Australians travelling overseas may access a 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre - Consular advice for emergencies: call 1300 555 135 within Australia - or +61 2 6261 3305 from outside Australia.
Important: If you are an Australian traveling, it is highly recommended that you register with Smart Traveller to receive up to date travel advice and to receive consular assistance quickly - especially if you have a chronic disease or health problem.
TIPS FOR OVERSEAS TRAVEL WITH KIDNEY DISEASE
Obtaining haemodialysis in other countries is possible
Standards of care may differ to Australian standards. Some global holiday dialysis groups specialise in this service and offer quality service guaranteed - but charge for the service. Ask what is covered in the fees.
Travel on Peritoneal Dialysis (PD) is simpler
With careful planning dialysis supplies can be delivered to a destination, if arranged in advance. Ask your health team if they can arrange contacts for back-up medical care, essential in case of ill health. Peritoneal Dialysis Travel 'Tool Box' Nephrology Nursing Journal. Bobbie Knotek, Laurie Biel USA
Trave,l when waiting for a kidney transplant - consult your doctor and Transplant Coordinator to decide if you will be able to return in time if a kidney becomes available. You are unlikely to receive travel insurance whilst on the transplant waiting list, or for some time post transplant. Your health must be confirmed as stable.
Travel anywhere, when you have a chronic disease
When making travel or flight bookings - contact a Disability or Special Assistance Co-ordinator
When making hotel reservations - remember to request ground floor room or handicapped-accessible room, if stairs or walking distances are a problem.
If booking via a travel agent advise special needs - specific diet, accessible rooms and assistance to change planes. If you need assistance boarding a plane or train, inform staff when you check in. An agent can also advise the best method for safe transport of dialysis supplies to foreign countries.
Watch what you eat and drink
Talk to your dietitian about foods to avoid overseas. Don't risk drinking local water, use bottled water only, including water for brushing teeth. Avoid salads and ice cubes unless prepared yourself using bottled water. Avoid any foods from street vendors, especially ice cream.
TRAVEL HEALTH AND KIDNEY DISEASE Medical and treatment advice
- Ensure your dialysis unit staff confirm dialysis arrangements a few weeks before travel, as capacity can change, especially in a public unit. Transfer forms provide personal treatment references - ask your unit to send in advance to your destination unit. Carry copies with you at all times. In an emergency your relevant dialysis details can be forwarded by your unit staff to a unit which accepts your request.
- When on holiday your health care team must be able to contact you, especially if on the transplant waiting list. Give your health team a detailed travel itinerary with contact details. Advise dialysis unit staff of any changes you make to your travel itinerary or plans.
- Be aware, blood tests are compulsory for most units anywhere in the world - allow time to have the tests done and receive results.
- Check if vaccines are needed in countries where you travel - some vaccines are not recommended for dialysis patients. Transplant patients need to be especially careful of vaccines.
- Keep an up to date treatment letter from your doctor with you at all times (copy in checked luggage) summarising your health, recent lab results and medication prescribed and why. You may need to provide this letter to Customs - also essential if you need to consult a doctor away from home. Keep scanned e-copies in an email (Yahoo, Hotmail) for access in emergencies. Your doctor can provide a copy in an emergency, but not ideal if you need urgent treatment or medication.
- Be careful to check drugs considered illegal in countries you may travel to, especially pain killers or opiates if used. Erythropoietin is banned for sports persons - so ensure if you need this drug, it is noted in your treatment letter - otherwise you may be fined, face lengthy delays in Customs, or worse!
Prohibited list; Therapeutic use exemptions World Anti-Doping Agency
- Travel with at least a 3 day reserve of supplies - to cover you for weather and flight delays, unexpected scheduling or shipment delays. Bags can also go astray - they may arrive on the next flight, however, to be safe always pack medications in a carry-on bag, never in checked luggage.
- Planes don't have fridges for personal use - if you have a drug which must be kept cool, ask your pharmacist how to pack it for travel. Check if your hotel has a fridge as some do not - they may suggest options. Consider packing medications in a thermo-bag with re-usable freezer packs. A wide-necked thermos chilled in advance also works. Make sure you allow time for transfers and delays when calculating the length of a trip when medication may be unrefrigerated.
- Ensure you arrange a clean space in advance to do exchanges and store supplies. Carry two universal power connectors, one in personal bag and one in checked luggage, in case one is lost in transit.
- If you bring syringes, you must bring the drug you inject, like insulin etc (some countries including Australia require a special license for certain drugs). There is no limit to how many unused empty syringes you can take as long as you also have the drug with you which must display a professionally printed label that clearly identifies it. On your return trip ensure you declare any drugs you were given or prescribed. A treatment letter listing medication may be requested by Customs when returning home.
- If you travel by plane or train, make arrangements for special meals (e.g. low-salt, low-fat, diabetic) . If diabetic, carry glucose tablets and snacks such as low-potassium juice to treat low blood sugar. Travel with lunch or nutrition supplement, in case of delays. Managing diabetes can be simpler by having a travel pack of insulin, syringes and blood glucose monitoring unit in your hand luggage.
- Pack an emergency supply of bandages, pain killers, insect-bite ointment and anti-diarrhoea pills. Ask your health team for names of over-the-counter drugs you may use. Avoid over-exposure to sun - take a high-factor sunscreen and use it - sun protection is very important for transplant patients.
INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL LOCATIONS - OFFERING DIALYSIS
Be aware that the quality, standards & charges may vary greatly in cities overseas
Asia Pacific Nephrocare - Global Dialysis Clinic Finder
Dalysis Abroad Australian escorted tours with quality dialysis - Japan, Bali & Italy.
Dialysis at Sea - USA Cruise with shipboard medical and dialysis needs managed by trained medical professionals - USA, Alaska, Hawaii, Mexico, Canada, Bermuda.
Diaverum Holiday Dialysis - many global locations
Eurodial Global dialysis group arranges guaranteed sessions with reputable private dialysis centres.
eNeph Clinicfinder for list of global Dialysis Units.
Dialysis Freedom run in conjunction with British Kidney Patients Association See list of all UK dialysis units
Fresenius Medical Care: Travel & Dialysis Internatiional Locate holiday dialysis unit globally.
Fresenius Holiday Dialysis - global Private dialysis unit finder.
Global Dialysis Extensive resource for dialysis patients who want to travel overseas.
Holiday Dialysis International - dialysis cruises online booking/query form
Holiday Dialysis - Dr Berger Email email@example.com for information on costs for Australian travellers. UK and European dialysis travellers receive subsidised dialysis at these Dialysis Centres.
International Federation of Kidney Foundations - Member Inventory Local groups give valuable information on availability of dialysis, quality of care and relevant charges.
The List: Dialysis & Transplantation Global guide to travel and dialysis - extensive resource.
National Kidney Foundation UK Dialysis Centres worldwide and support information
INTERNATIONAL DIALYSIS PROVIDERS FOR TRAVEL ON DIALYSIS
INDONESIA - BALI Nusa Dua
BIMC Hospital Dialysis Unit Upgrades to these facilities ensure high Australian standards - stay at 4 star Hotel nearby. Contact unit before travel - see e-brochure US$249 per session. 9-5, 6 days no Sunday & PD supported - Australian staff speak: English, German, French, Japanese & Indonesian
Jo Skala - Haemodialysis Coordinator - Call +62 361 300 0911
firstname.lastname@example.org * email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
Traveling Dialysis RV Association Rent RV with Formula Belco 2000 dialysis machine and WRO95 water purification system - patient must be trained with this type of unit.
Club Haemodialysis Fresenius Private Travel email@example.com
Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Egypt, Greece-Crete, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Spain, Tunisia, Turkey Holiday Dialysis: by Dr Berger for extensive travel service for dialysis patients
Cyprus Dialysis via Cyprus Health Service Promotion Board - Cyprus Holiday Dialysis Unit
Greece and other countries Treatment Abroad: Dialysis holidays
Greece - Rhodes Helionephro Dialysis (approx 250 euros a treatment) Helionephro Sun Dialysis Unit
Apollo Bramwell Hospital holiday dialysis - get quote and confirm booking before travel.
Kidney Health New Zealand access to holiday Dialysis Units
Wellington Region Kidney Society's Taupo Holiday Home (minimum charges apply)
Kidney Society of Auckland - Holidays and Travel
UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - Dubai
Fiji Islands: Colonial War Memorial Hospital in Suva (east coast - 200 km from west coast holiday spots) Session approx $500 Fiji. Call +679 310 0020 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Western Samoa: +679 310 0020 Motootua Hospital in Apia - very important to check with staff on status of current dialysis care, access to care by qualified doctors during dialysis and availability.
Zulekha Hospital - Holiday Dialysis Most countries (inc Australia) are offered free Travel Visas
Dialysis Freedom - dialysis holiday specialists
Dialysis Holidays UK
Private Dialysis UK Find a holiday/ private dialysis clinic - get quote for anticipated treatment
Renal Assocation of UK - Lists over 70 main Dialysis Units Sort by map or postcode
Haemodialysis in Edinburgh Scotland
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
Dialysis Units in the USA
Dialysisfinder.com Travel links Book your dialysis sessions early
NKF (USA) Holiday Pages
Traveling on dialysis advice DaVita USA - hints for travel on dialysis and more
WhereDialysis.com Find Dialysis Facilities in the USA
Updated 3 September 2014